Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Part-Time?


I got into the office yesterday and of course there was someone sitting in his office shooting the breeze. Of course! And then I went to get a cup of coffee and of course he had a meeting.  I wrote up a race report for the blog. Took care of some administrative stuff. I pumped. That seemed to buy enough time and after a quick pee break to get a handle on my nerves I walked into his office and asked if he had a minute to talk.

It went so much better than I thought. While I was still on maternity leave I had asked to switch my schedule from 8:00 to 5:00 to 7:00 to 4:00 and was denied.  I thought if they won't let me move my schedule up an hour they surely won't allow me to go part-time. Behind the scenes, I've been trying to line up something else more flexible that would allow us to pay the bills and allow me more time with peanut.  I was a networking fool! I am working with a placement agency. I am planning to take a course so I can be be appointed to guardian ad litem positions from time to time.  When I walked into his office yesterday, I was ready to quit.

No matter how much I might like my job, I cannot give peanut less than my 100% best self. And I cannot be my 100% best parent self working these hours at this job.  I need more time.  I don't need to spend 100% of my time with peanut to be the best parent I can be either, but it has to be more time than I currently have.   No matter how much I like my job, am committed to my job, and loyal to my job, I cannot stay at my job if it prevents me from being the best parent I can be. That is a stand I must take.

I closed his door and sat down across from him and laid it all out my dilemma.  I made it clear that I want to work out a solution that allows me to be the best parent I can be and also allows me to stay at my job, but that if I have to choose peanut wins every time. And much to my surprise, he did not laugh at me when I told him that the perfect solution to me is part-time.  Instead, he started brainstorming all the ways we could make that happen. It is not a slam dunk.  It very well might not happen, but the possibility is there.  That alone is much better than I expected! And I am so glad I walked over my fear and into his office.  At least I have to choose to leave, I know I did everything I could do to work things out and I made the right choice.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Bustin' Some Rust


20:38.  Sure, I hoped I'd magically feel amazing and effortless glide across the finish a minute or three faster, but don't we always hope that? And just because I would like to run faster doesn't mean I can't be happy with that on this day, right?  I think I'm done with the running angst.  Really.  Again, it doesn't mean I'm complacent and satisfied with a 20:38 5k. Of course not! Of course I want to run a much faster 5k! But do I need to be all angsty about running the not faster 5k right now to do that?  I don't need to make excuses--although that course sure was hilly and that wind sure was ferocious (I didn't NEED to say that, it just slipped out!). Right now, 4 months and 1 week post-peanut, I am in 20:38 5k shape.  That's where I'm at and it's a solid starting point from which I can build back up.  It's scary in that how on earth am I going to go from running a 5k 2 minutes slower than my pr to a pr marathon in six months?  But I felt the same way when I weighed 156 lbs at the doctor's office at my 6 week post-partum appointment--how on earth am I going to go from 156 lbs to 127 lbs in 6 months? That's almost 30 lbs! But, here I am just 12 weeks later and I'm down 21 pounds and I really didn't have to try to do it. It just happened by running when I felt like it and being (*gasp*) patient!   So, if I'm patient and stick with my plan, I imagine I'll be in significantly better shape in 4 weeks for my next race. There's nothing magic I can do. I think it's just going to take boring old patience to get back into shape.

Yeah, so 20:38. Luckily, the night before I checked the race website and noticed the race started at 8:30 and not 9:00 as I had thought. Phew! And also the day before, I stopped by the local running shop to pick up my new racing team jersey.  Since my old team disbanded a year ago (see post from early April last year), I have been team-less.  Of course, I was pregnant and not exactly running racing team times so it wasn't a priority to join a new one.  Now that I want to get back into shape, I thought it would be really nice to run for a team again for some extra motivation (and also the team discount since I'll be needing a lot more shoes!)  So, I joined the Achilles Racing Team (http://www.achillesrunning.com).  I really like their little shop and it's the only shop in town that I'll ever make it to now that I have peanut since it's by far the closest to our house.  It's not the most competitive racing team in town, but it's a nice group of people and they offer some really awesome perks that even the since-disbanded elite team I was on did not (offer to me. I'm sure the really fast folks justifiably got all kinds of great perks that slow ol' me did not!) (e.g. free entry to some of my favorite races, 50% off mizunos, etc).  So, I was excited to fly my new team's flag for the first time.

The forecast for yesterday morning was pretty dismal--low 40's, very windy and rain.  Mrp and I anticipated I would just go to the race alone.  But when the morning rolled around, it was much warmer than we thought so we all piled in the Jetta and headed to the race.  We bundled peanut up with his new wooly sweater his grandma knitted for him over his pj's and his furry hat and stuck him in his stroller with the rain shield.  He immediately conked and I headed out for my warm-up.  I was pretty keyed up, almost comically so.  Thankfully, I relaxed a lot during my warm-up miles.  The race was held at Holden Arboretum (holdernarb.org).  It's a beautiful place full of lots of trails.  I ran around the parking lot once, but couldn't resist doing a little exploring.  I got a little nervous when I thought I was lost on the trails. Luckily, I came over a hill and spotted the parking lot just in time!

I lined up next to one of my old teammates (who is blazing fast--like seriously. I am the big gangly tortoise to her hare!)  Chatted for a minute and then we were off.  I felt like I was going in slow motion.  My legs were all WTF, lady?! The course started in the parking lot and after about a 1/4 mile heads down the main road that runs through the park.  I was left in lots of peoples' dust as we started. but passed a ton of hotdoggers who went out WAY too fast after the first turn.  I could see at this point that I was the third woman. The first mile had a roll to it, but seemed mostly uphill to out of shape old me.  I hit it at 6:45.  Shortly after the mile mark, there was a hugely long uphill section.  It was longer than 1/2 a mile. Seriously--long and mean.  And windy to boot. I didn't freak out and surprisingly did not back down the pace. After the hill. we got to the sharp turn around to head back. I'm sure the corresponding downhill section helped salvage the split--6:40 for mile two. I could see that I was gaining on the second woman.  She was still a ways ahead but closer after mile two than she had been.  I used her to inspire me to push to the end.  I also used the fact that I really wanted to get under 21:00 and I was cutting it close! So, I did my best to pick it up. After my wonderful buddy BH very enthusiastically cheered me on, I hit the last mean hill and then got socked with a nasty gust of wind.  I thought I might puke there.  Man, that was tough on my underdeveloped aerobic system.  And then I saw mrp and peanut (mrp later told me he was going to cheer "Here comes the milk truck!" but thought better of it--thanks) right before the final turn to the finish.  I had no kick whatsoever, but I still managed to run 6:29 pace for the last 1.1.   I came in third.  The second woman was about 20 seconds ahead of me, I'd guess.

There are so many great things about this race.  One, it confirmed I was right about my current fitness level.  I predicted I'd run 20:xx.  I ran negative splits in a 5k.  Hey, that alone is a feat, at least for me! That suggests to me that I am rusty and just by getting some faster workouts in and getting the legs more accustomed to faster running, that that alone will improve my times a lot. I came in third and got a snazzy star shaped trophy. I had lots of fun.  I actually did not beat myself up about the result, make excuses, or feel angsty about the result (ok, maybe I did for a minute, but I got over it really quickly!)

Anyway, for 4 months and 1 week after having a baby, 4 months and 1 week of being almost 40 lbs heavier than I am now, for over a year since I actually really raced anything, I'll take it!  That's not to make excuses, those are just the facts.  And 20:38 is, in fact, what 5k shape I'm in.  And that's a good start.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The March Lion


We have had a pretty wonderful March around here, as far as the weather goes.  Why must the March lion come roaring into town the weekend of my first race post-peanut?  Oh well. I am planning 5 races this spring, so one of them has to have good weather! I guess this will allow me to practice rolling with the punches and relaxing in a race.

In other news, my little peanut might just be getting better about going to sleep.  He took two 1 hour+ naps at the sitter's house yesterday and for the last two nights went to sleep for 1 hour+ after only nursing for 45ish minutes. This is much better than the 90 minutes of nursing and 1/2 hour of alone sleep!  Also, of note I saw him pull himself all across his play mat this morning.  He rolled over from back to belly, grabbed onto the play mat "floor" and pulled himself clear across it. He then made a right hand turn, ended up on the carpet and proceeded to cry. It was a riot! He wants to travel on his own so badly! He is such a determined little fellow! Mrp and I better get on that babyproofing, stat!

Finally, on Monday I am planning to talk to the powers that be at work in attempt to work out an arrangement that is more conducive to my family.  The current situation is just not working.  We're all miserable.  Sure, some of that is growing pains and would get better over time when we all adjust, but the adjustments aren't ones we'd like to make.  I am really nervous about getting this ball rolling. I feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders--like my family's happiness is at stake. In so many ways staying the current course is so much easier than switching things up.  But, we only have one life to live and mrp and I are resolved to make it the best one we can for us and for peanut. I will fill you in on all the details soon: what the plan is, how the talk goes, what the future holds, etc.  But for now, I just need your support!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thank You, Legs


I really don't want to eat these raisins I packed. I knew I wouldn't want them. Why do I do this to myself?  Oh, it's because packing a lunch with no fruits and vegetables seems like something I shouldn't do, and the jelly on my pbj doesn't count!  

Anyway, this weekend I was at mrp's parents' house.  Peanut needed to nap and he isn't so good in the crib. I wanted to make sure he slept well so I decided to lay down with him on mrp's childhood bed. I slept for a few minutes, but needed something else to pass the time.  I gingerly got up from the bed while peanut slept and started rooting around mrp's old stuff. I found a book on sports psychology. YES!  So, I gingerly got back in the bed next to peanut and dove in. The first part of the book dealt with confidence.  I read through it, but decided that's not my problem really. Sure, sometimes I struggle with an accute lack of confidence attack, but it always passes quickly. In the macro-sense I'm confident, I think.

The next section was on self-talk.  Now we're talking (is this not even a bad pun?) This is my problem! And here, apparently, were the solutions to that problem. Thank you, sports psychology book!  Well, not so fast.  This is just part of my problem.  I read on and the next chapter was on relaxing.  BINGO!  My main weakness as a runner is my anxiety, stress and the tension those things cause in my body.  Negative self-talk just adds to that problem to the point where they become something I can't just deep breathe away before a race.  Those two things just feed off of each other! When I think about it, life gets me all stressed and anxious as a general rule.  And then I have a big race coming up on top of that which adds to the stress and anxiety so I'm even more stressed and anxious.  And then I start psyching myself out by bagging on myself for having a bad workout (because I'm tense) or because I got a stitch (because I'm tense) or because I can't relax when I should (um, because I'm tense!)  

I was good. I just finished my raisins.

So I was so excited to read what the good book had to say about solving these problems.  For self-talk it said it takes practice, but I can replace my negative self-talk with positive self-talk.  Apparently, I'm far from alone in my propensity to psych myself out. The book says it's almost akin to human nature to default to negative self-talk.  Most of us have to reprogram our brains to be kind to ourselves. How do we do it? First we have to figure out what to tell ourselves to zip the negative lip.  Some example phrases to tell ourselves are, "Stop it! This is fun!" or "Enough! Get out there and do what you enjoy!"  Personally, I need something snappy and short: "Shut up and have some fun!"  Yeah, I think I'll use that one!!  The next step is to have some positive phrases readily available--i.e. ones I have practiced saying to myself in training--that I can easily look to to fill the void left when the negative talk left the building. Otherwise, the negative talk will fill the space! Here are something I might say to myself: "I'm happy to be out here!" "I love racing!" "I'm tough and strong and ready to do this!" "I love pushing through the hurt!"   The thing is, all these statements are more true than the negative statements that I end up sabotaging myself with too.

As for relaxing, the book said this takes practice too. Shocking, really! But, first it necessitates slowing down the breathing and concentrating on belly breathing.  This is straight out our Bradley childbirth classes, so I have this nailed! I just need to do it more often.  The other thing it said to do is visualize being relaxed.  What this means is to think of how you feel when you're relaxed and write down a description of it.  For me, I always think back to my first marathon.  I was so excited to be there and I was so confident in my ability to meet my goal.  I had a master plan that was very reasonable and I stuck to it while also going with the flow.  I enjoyed every mile.  I remember getting to the 20th mile mark and suddenly realizing I was going to do it.  There was no better feeling in the world.  That was my slowest marathon, but my best. I had a wonderful time and enjoyed every mile!  I was alive and in the moment, so appreciative of my body and my discipline and hard work that got me there.

And now here I am 4 months after having a baby.  When I was pregnant I had no idea what would happen after I had the baby.  Would I ever be able to run again? Would I ever lose all the weight? Would I ever have time or energy to train? What ifs for miles! But here I am.  Just 4 months post-partum and easily running 40-50 miles per week and feeling stronger than ever! So what if I'm not as fast as I was a year and a half ago?! I'm out here and I'm having the time of my life!  Thank you, legs!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Getting Around


Another thing that bugs me about work, is that it has draconian internet filters that do not allow me to comment on other blogs (or post on my blog, but hey I got around that didn't I. Sneaky me!) I can pull them up to see them, but I cannot comment. It's very irritating! Ok yeah, it's not exactly productive to comment on blogs during work hours, but it takes all of 30 seconds and now I've spent longer than that posting up to this point complaining about it! Anyway, one of my bloggy friends dcrunningmama (dcrunningmama.blogspot.com, naturally) has a son who is just 2.5 weeks older than peanut and her son Nathan is showing a lack of interest in eating these days.  I wanted to comment on her blog and share my experiences with peanut, but NOOOOOOO, can't do that. So instead, you all get to read about my experiences with peanut and his disinterest in eating lately.

I've noticed that when peanut is eating while he's wide awake--during the day time or when he first latches on at night--he gets very easily distracted.  He'll look at me and if I'm looking at him he'll smile and start talking with his mouth full! If I'm watching tv or reading he'll unlatch and turn his head to see what I'm looking at and I have the hardest time getting him to focus on eating and I end up giving up.  I read a tip that at 4 months babies really start becoming aware of their environment and super curious and have a difficult time focusing on things like eating.  This also leads to what is known as 4 month wakefulness because the babies are so curious and excited about all the cool stuff they're seeing that they don't eat during the day and then end up waking up a lot at night to make up for lost time! The books and websites (kellymom.com is my favorite) recommend trying to feed while the baby is half asleep.  If I lay down with peanut for a nap he eats much better.  Or if I feed him immediately after a nap while he's still groggy, it's better. I am not super vigilant because we're co-sleeping so it's really no big deal to me if he wants to eat all night, but it does help if I need him to have a full tummy for whatever reason. But man, I can't help but laugh when I am dragged into bed at night at 9:15 and I think I'm outsmarting peanut so he thinks I'm sleeping but I'm actually laying there reading. Instead of eating I find him staring at the magazine like it's the most interesting thing he's ever seen! I'll think he fell asleep, only to see him whip is head around when I turn the page! Maybe he'll be an early reader too?  

Peanut also seems to be getting in his bottom two teeth already! The gums are pretty swollen and I can feel two very distinct bumps on his bottom gums.  He is also very very drooly and constantly sucking on his hands.  Oh, and he blew out three outfits yesterday! Apparently that's a sign of teething. Who would have thought? So, the teething might also contribute to the 4 month wakefulness.  And finally, the authorities say that when baby is learning a new trick he might be more distracted from eating and harder to get and keep asleep.  He is so excited and wants to show off his new skills. How cute is that. Speaking of which, peanut "crawled" 2 feet yesterday! He rolled over from back to front. Pushed his upper body and head up like a seal, scooted his legs like a crawl, and then grabbed the blanket and pulled himself across it! He is such a physical kid! He's always been so strong and very advanced physically. It's kind of freaky, but I'll chalk that up to running while pregnant!

Speaking of running, this Sunday is my first race post-partum and my first real race in over a year! I'm running a dinky little 5k close to my house. I'm not sure what to expect at all, but I'm super excited to get out there and race!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Starting Somewhere


I don't even know where to start.  I guess we'll start with the b00b.  It is 900 million times better.  The antibiotics knocked the infection out pretty quickly. I have no soreness at all anymore and just feel a tiny bit of residual lumpiness.  My milk supply is back up to normal, which is good because this week I'm thrust right back into ful-time work.  All through the mastitis I managed to maintain peanut's 100% breastmilk diet so I am happy about that.

The one tough thing is that since I was home with peanut 4 out of 5 days last work week, he has reverted and is even more clingy than he was the week before. And I had a taste of being home with him again and my feelings about working reverted too. I miss him terribly and I am feeling much more intolerant of his inability to nap well at the sitter's.  I am also feeling very frustrated at night.  My window to eat dinner, spend quality time with mrp, wind down, take care of day-to-day personal business seems to be getting shorter and shorter every night.  Peanut is demanding more time to go to sleep--last night was about 90 minutes and then is sleeping for shorter and shorter stretches alone.  Last night was about 1/2 an hour, just enough time for me to finish dinner and that's it. I tried getting him back to sleep, but my efforts were futile.  I carried a semi-asleep peanut around while I brushed my teeth, took my antibiotics and vitamins, found something to read and hit the bed at 9:15. I love peanut, but this is becoming unworkable. Something's got to give.

In other news, I happened to catch one of my local blog acquaintences blogs on Saturday and read that at 30 years old she has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma.  She has two little boys, a career, and is a very good runner.  The only symptom she had was knee pain!  She would never have found out about the cancer so early if she wasn't a runner. Goes to show running has more benefits than most people think! Check out her blog and wish her well over here: backfrombaby.blogspot.com.

On a more happy note, the amazing 100 mile girl, Meghan is off to Morrocco to run a 250k through the Sahara! I am so excited for her! I wish her lots of luck and I can't wait to see the amazing pictures! You can go check out her adventures and wish her well here: meghanscrookedtrails.blogspot.com.

As for me, my running has taken a slight hit the last couple weeks between this cold (which is in its third week!) and the mastitis.  I missed one hard run both weeks and about 6-10 miles each week. Not too bad all things considered.  

Here are the numbers for last week:

Mon: 8 miles with peanut and BOB (8:45)
Tue: 7.75 including 4 x 1:00, 1:00, 2:00 fartlek with 1/2 time rest + 4 x :20 HARD! Ran with CV and still haven't forgiven her for convincing me to wear a long sleeve shirt on a 65 degree sunny day (kidding!) (8:15 average)
Wed: 5.5 miles with peanut and Bob (8:25--I was in a hurry to jam in the miles because stupid me was running late!) Also did a brisk 4.5 mile walk with my aunt. 3 hours later was on my @$$ in bed with a fever!
Thu: in bed.
Fri: still in bed.
Sat: 8 miles, 6 with GP and E and 2 alone. All very very easy! Felt tired but good.
Sun: 12 miles from home and to the park. Did a little over an hour on the trails and the rest on the roads. Ran the same route as last week and was almost 5 minutes faster! Felt good. (8:20 pace).

Total: 41.25
Weight: 137 (Was 136 on Thursday, but that had to be from the fever--the 137 was on Sunday after I had been eating and drinking normally for a couple of days).

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Mastitis

I have mastitis. Stupid me kept trying to ignore the horrible cold I had and kept pushing through it. Then I didn't pump all weekend, Monday or Wednesday and by Wednesday night I had a horrible fever and the most painful boob ever. Thank goodness I was hanging out with my aunt who is a doctor all day.  She looked at it and we figured it was a blocked duct.  But about an hour later I was at home and freezing wearing fleece pants, socks, a long-sleeve shirt and wrapped in my down comforter cuddling peanut. I just went downhill from there.  I called my aunt and she mercifully called in a prescription for antibiotics.  I started them last night and am feeling much better although still bad. I'm most likely taking tomorrow off from work to rest some more. I think I've learned my lesson! I thought if I took one day off of running that would be enough rest to help my body get over the cold, and I guess when you add in breastfeeding and a lot of stress it's just not enough.  So, all you breastfeeding running mamas take heed and take care!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Welcome BOB


I'm still sick. I'm definitely getting better now, but the SARS or whatever it is is still clingling to my sinuses and my lungs.  I felt so bad yesterday when I woke up that I called off from work and went back to bed with peanut.  He seemed very appreciative of the extra sleep! After his early nap (which was a whopping 3 hours!) I was feeling better and it was gorgeous out so I packed peanut up and took him to the park with our new best buddy BOB. That's BOB, as in BOB the jogging stroller. It was the first time I took peanut out in it all by myself!  On Saturday, mrp and I took peanut to the park and did a few miles while Mike pushed.  I was still pretty sick so I wasn't up for much that day.  I swear the only reason I went out with them was because we had no food in the house and we went out for an early dinner after the run!

Anyway, I skimmed the owner's manual and made sure I knew how to collapse and uncollapse BOB and how to run safely with it and off we went. I didn't have high expectations. It looks really big and cumbersome.  However, I managed to get it in and out of the trunk with no problems. And then I was amazed at how easy it was to push.  After about 1.5 miles I felt like I had a rhythm going with it and I was able to use one hand most of the time and on the very flat straight parts of the path I could push and use no hands a bit.  I expected it to really hamper my pace and possibly to kill me after just a few miles, but I managed to average 8:45 pace and I ran for 8 miles no problem.  It was actually pretty fun.  And peanut seemed to like it. He napped for the first 45 minutes and then chilled for the last 20 or so.  He started to make some fussy noises with about 2 minutes to go, but hung in there until we got back to the car.  I am very pleased with our success and super relieved that peanut didn't hate it. How much would that suck?!  The only thing though, is that I couldn't help but wonder if maybe I should have bought the BOB SUS rather than the Ironman so I could use it on the trails.  Anyone have an opinion on that?

But with this bug I have, I had a fairly lighter week than I had hoped.  I only got one harder run in. I did manage a longish run on Sunday. I ran from home to the park and did a little over an hour on the muddy trails before heading back home. I ran 12 total and felt pretty good.  I kept the pace super easy and enjoyed the absolutely stunning spring morning.  The sun was out. It was about 45 degrees. Everyone at the park was in a good mood and friendly.  Ahhh. It was just one of those really nice runs.

Anyway, here are last week's numbers.

Mon: 7.25 on the treadmill at work (8:22)

Tue: 7.25 including 3 mile tempo on the track (I wanted to average 7:10's for the tempo and after a 7:17 first mile managed to cros the finish in 21:30 on the nose! It was super rainy and windy and cold and I only had shorts. My legs were popsicles by the time I was done.  And DD proved to be a true friend by trecking out with me in that nast!)  

Wed: Scheduled off but ran 5.5 very easy with E (thought I was going to have a 7 day running week. I was wrong!)

Thu: 6 very easy, like well over 9:00 pace and I felt like I had to work for it.  Not good! At least I had great company (CV, E, DD, JC)

Fri: No run.  I was scheduled for my fartlek but just couldn't do it. The cold was deeply entrenched in my chest so went out to lunch with mrp instead.

Sa: 5.5 with mrp, peanut and BOB at the park (8:30's)

Su: 12 (4.5 on the roads and 7.5 on the trails) (8:50 pace).

Total: 43.5 (about 5-7 off from where I expected to be--not bad all things considered!)

Weight: 139

Friday, March 13, 2009

Waking Up


Back in February of 2007 I headed to New Orleans to visit my sister (who was living there at the time) and to run the Mardi Gras half-marathon.  Back home it was a horrid winter--every weekend was super windy and ungodly snowy.  I couldn't wait to head down and see my sister and experience some almost-tropical air. I also was really excited to race, because I was all hopped up on hope for a sub 1:30 breakthrough.  Of course a few days before the trip I woke up with a cold.  And of course the morning I was to  board the plane I woke up and it was all in my head. And of course by the morning of the race I woke up and it had migrated to my chest and I sounded (and probably looked) like I had a full-blown case of tuberculosis.  I wandered from my historic Frenchy hotel  (I felt so bad I stayed in a hotel and not at my sister's place!) at 5 a.m. and stumbled and croaked in the dark through the French Quarter to Cafe Du Monde which was the only place open at the time on a Sunday morning for a cup of coffee.  I took some tylenol and made sure to pack some with me along with my gu.  

I soldiered on and took my place at the starting line trying not to scare anyone with my rasp.  I shot off from the Superdome after the gun.  After a surprising first half of the race run on pace and neck and neck with the woman who eventually took second place, I hit a wall and suddenly my pace just fell off.  I took a gu and it got all tangled up in my snot and ended up plastered all over my face and on my hands. To this day I cannot stand lemon-lime gu. At 11 miles some guy passed me and I decided to at least try to finish hard and I pushed it in after him getting almost back on pace. In the end, I ran a full 2 minutes slower than my goal, but still somehow got third place (ok, New Orleans isn't known for it's distance running!).  Overall, not bad considering I felt like I was on my death bed.  Of course at the time it felt like a huge dissappointment.  

As soon as I crossed the finish line I hacked up a lung.  I couldn't wait to head back to my hotel for a nap.  Later that night my sister had a crawfish boil at her house and the hot hot brussel sprouts really helped drain all the nasty gunk out of my upper respiratory system. And two days later, I ran 12 miles winding through City Park and along the bayou in the sunshine and actually felt a little better.  Maybe it was the novelty of the pelicans, the alley cats, and the slow moving New Orleanians that made me feel that way. This was the last time I was in New Orleans.  I might be the only person who associates New Orleans with a bronchial cough. I wrote about this back then.  It's in the archives somewhere.  The picture I put in this post is there too.  

Now it's March 2009 and I have been fighting a bit of a cold all week. I'd blame it on peanut, but mrp was actually the first one sick in the house.  Finally, this morning I woke up and it had migrated down to my chest.   I have some tightness and a bit of a cough, but nothing like the great plague I experienced a couple of years ago.  Yet, ignoring the fartlek on my schedule that I have been anxiously awaiting all week, I left my gym bag at home.  I thought about it and if there is something I would yell at peanut for doing, I'm not allowed to do it anymore.  Plus, after 5 long days away from my scrumptious little one I need to rest up for our two day extravaganza of togetherness (bka the weekend). So, hopefully I will wake up feeling less possessed by mucous demons and more ready for my fartlek tomorrow!

And of course, any disappointment I experienced as I laid in bed contemplating the consequences of the virtual gravel in my chest was wiped out when I turned on the light in the bedroom.  Peanut awoke and opened his eyes and when he saw me smiling at him and heard me singing our good morning song he smiled so big, so gummy, so adoreably, that his cheeks were squished up so high that his eyes reshut! And then we both laughed and gooed at each other and cuddled in the big bed not caring that mommy would be late for work.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Milestones


Today I weighed in at 139. Woohoo! That's a big psychological milestone.  It's the same first two numbers that were on the scale the day I got pregnant. I'm almost there! 7 pounds to prepregnancy weight and 12 lbs to race weight.  I can at least get to prepregnancy weight in time for my half at the end of May. I hope!

In other news, peanut napped well at the sitter's two days in a row!  Yesterday he slept 45 minutes in the a.m. (ok, but not that great) and then 2 hours in the afternoon (much better--although he passed out playing on the floor!)  Then today he slept for 2 hours in the a.m. (half in his swing and half in the crib) and 1.5 hours in the pm (all in the crib).  This is huge.  Two days in a row is more likely the beginning of a trend and less likely a fluke.  And even better yet, this will be the second day in a row and third day this week I don't cry in my car all the way home. Go peanut!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

March Daydreams


March is a special month for me. It's the time of year that mrp and I began our first relationship 18 years ago (Christ, I'm old!) It's the time we struck up our second relationship 4 years ago.  It's about the time we decided to get married 2 years ago. And it was this time last year that we conceived peanut (ok, that's a little tmi. Sorry!) And even when these hugely significant events are taking place, March is a month that always leaves me itching to seize the day and make the most out of life.

This March is no different. I started my big training comeback last week and so far things are going great and I'm super excited about getting back to it. My first race back is in 2.5 weeks and I cannot wait!  Being pregnant and being forced to take a year off of training has not only relit the fire, but has provided me the wonderful opportunity to relive the joys of getting into shape and seeing fast improvements. I would be lying if I said I'm never frustrated that I'm still about 10 lbs more than I'd like to be, that most of my clothes still don't fit, and that I am still slower than I was.  But if you would have told me 6 months ago that less than 4 months post-partum I'd be running 50+ miles a week, easy paced runs as fast as 8:04 pace and tempos just a few seconds slower than my tempos a couple of years ago I would have jumped for joy! Plus these days running feels great and is such a pleasure, even more so than it ever was.

And besides that, other big changes are brewing. I am sitting here in my office under the florescent lights, listening the jibber-jabber of co-workers, the hum of the radiator, looking at the little wallet sized photos of peanut taped about my office. Meanwhile, my brain is daydreaming of what could be. Of  easy runs with the baby jogger. Of the anticipation of mrp coming home. Of clipping coupons. Of missing buying myself and peanut cute outfits on a whim.  Of sunny days with my boy.  Of wondering where life will take me next.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Green Gunk


* So, peanut is oozing green gunk out of his little nose. Poor little buddy. Mrp is at home with him today to make sure he gets his naps in and to take him to the pediatrician to get checked out. It is a lot nicer being at work with mrp at home with the nut, although it's still very hard to be away from him especially when he isn't feeling well. It's his first illness of any kind and it stinks. Incidentally, I came down with the cold this morning. I was feeling ok but just got back from 7.25 miles on the gym treadmill and feel YUCK all of a sudden. Great.

Add to that that I completely missed my fun run with DD today because I got stuck in a meeting, my ipod crapped out on me, the only thing on the gym tvs were Gunsmoke and Card Shark and I am wearing a cashmere sweater, corduroy pants and knee high leather boots and am accordingly sweating my @ss off in my office because I had to rush back up here lest I feel bad for taking too long of a lunch. Not the best day here!

But last week was pretty decent running wise. I got two workouts in plus a decent long run. That run with mrp turned out to be just what the doctor ordered. Not only did I have a great run, but we had a great conversation. Plus, it was just great to hang out with mrp all by ourselves. Like old times! We are formulating our plan and as soon as I can reveal it, I will. In the meantime, I so appreciate everyone's kind words of support and advice!

Last week by the numbers:

Mon: 6.75 very easy with E, DD and JC (mid to high 9's)

Tue: 7.25 including 2 miles at tempo on the treadmill (averaged 7:10 pace, which felt pretty doable and like I could have kept going--will be interesting to see how I do with 3 miles outside!)

Wed: off

Thu: 7.25 with mrp outside (8:04 pace and it actually felt good!)

Fri: 9 including fartlek of 4 x 1:00, 1:00, 2:00 @ 10k effort with half rest + 4 x :20 HARD (averaged 8:16 for the 9 so went well! The workout felt perfect for where I am right now)

Sa: 7.5 on the bikepath at the park while my buddy MN walked with peanut in the stroller (8:05--I should not make this a habit, but I wanted to cram in as much in my hour as I could. As they say, just because you can doesn't mean you should!)

Su: 13.25 from home to the park, around the park and back all with GP. (Averaged 8:57 or so. I totally miscalculated how far we went at the park. We ended up going a mile more than planned because I can't do math apparently!)

Total: 51miles!

Weight: 140 (getting closer!)

*A few days ago when we were both healthy.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

And Sometimes Not Coping Very Well


So I am sitting here at work for what feels like the millionth day in a row agonizing about what the "right" thing to do is.  Peanut still refuses to sleep at the sitter's house and it's just killing me to see him so overtired and unable to develop healthy sleeping habits, let alone wondering what he is doing all day when he should be napping! And then thinking about all those waking hours that I could be there enjoying with him. And then thinking about my half hour with him while he's awake tonight that will likely be rushed and hurried and glassy-eyed and of course the heart-breaking falling asleep in the bathtub routine.  I feel like my sweet little almost 15 week-old peanut is screaming at me for help with his sleep problems and there isn't a darn thing I can do about it. It kills me!

It seems clear to me that he is not developmentally ready to make such huge changes and to be away from his parents for so much of his day.  Maybe some babies are ready at 3 months, but not peanut. He seems very sensitive and in need of a lot of closeness and affection. He has always struggled with sleeping and has always needed a lot of help to go to sleep and stay asleep.  

That is what my instincts say. But then sometimes I second-guess myself. Am I just wanting him to miss me and cling to me as much as I miss him and want to cling to him? I am glad I challenge myself like this, really.  But it just isn't the case. I feel the way I do about peanut's needs during both the good times and the bad, in the morning and in the night, at work and at home, on a run and in my sleep.  I feel like the whole going back to work thing requires some women to turn off their instincts and detatch from the jedi mind meld they have with their babies.  I can't do that. I WON'T do it.  I don't care what it takes.  

I just took a break from writing to answer a call from mrp. He is so sweet and wonderful.  He is going to head out with me for a run during our lunch time to talk about all this. At least, no matter what, I have a wonderful family!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Coping


Today I am not running. Normally I am happy to have a day off. Today I am hungry to run!  But no run. I will satisfy my hunger by eating Mexican food during my lunch date. I am meeting one of the women I met during our Bradley classes.  She was due the day before I was with a boy and she was about as big around as I was so I always identified with her most.  She also works downtown, so it will be nice to catch up, talk about all things baby and discuss the challenges of going back to work.  I sure hope it's been easier for her!

Speaking of being back at work. You know something? I hate staples. Seriously. Staples: nothing but trouble.  Maybe I just don't know how to use a stapler but it seems like every time I do it takes me at least 5 times, several broken nails and a whole lot of exasperation to not get some cattywampussed (tm mrp's dad) mangled barb of metal in the corner of my small stack of paper. Hmmph!

Ok, after our brief interlude there... So, I am still struggling being back at work.  Peanut is still struggling with me being back to work.  Mrp, on the other hand, is kind of loving it because by being forced to shift up his schedule so he can pick up peanut from the sitter's house he has completely avoided all traffic and has started to get into work at 6:45! He's able to get tons done before all his comrades get into the office to distract him and he's home with peanut before 4:30! Nice! That was what I was hoping to do, but my job wouldn't let me. Yeah. Lame.  So instead, I drop peanut off and navigate through the 8:30 downtown traffic and then bolt from my office right at 5:00, weave in and out down the highway and pray there are no accidents so I can get home in time to spend a few minutes with peanut while he's still awake and at the very least be there at 6:15 to put him to bed. I don't think he'd go to bed if I wasn't there! I'm sure the day will come when we'll have to test this hypothesis. NOT LOOKING FORWARD TO THAT!

But yeah, this is my second week of full-time and peanut is doing no better. He is overtired all week and the bulk of his time with me is spent while we sleep.  We have taken to almost 100% co-sleeping. Peanut, is having a really hard time sleeping alone.  He is so tired that he does go to sleep for a while by himself when I first put him down, but after 45-90 minutes he wakes up and we have a hard time putting him back down.  It takes a while but we've been able to do it these past few nights, just so I don't have to go to bed at 9:00! Around 10:00 or so I crawl into bed and usually have about 15 minutes before he wakes up to come into bed with me.  His momdar seems to get better all the time! Once he's in bed with me, I'll notice him pat around to make sure I'm still there. And once he finds me he strokes me or grabs my shirt in his tiny hand like security blankie.  It is really the most precious thing.

Co-sleeping is theoretically not my first preference for our family sleep arrangement.  I have to say in this situation it is working really well for all of us.  All three of us get a pretty good night's sleep these days.  Plus, I need it right now just as much as peanut does. 1) because I would be even worse off if I didn't get a good night's sleep and 2) because it it's multi-tasking in the best of ways: cuddle time + sleep time! In a perfect world I think I would want to transition peanut to his crib in his own room around 4 months both for his personal growth and so mrp and I could have our room back, but while I'm working full-time there is no way that is going to happen.  Basically, at this point he is so in need of sleep that we can't be picky about where he gets it.  Sleep has always been the hardest thing with him and any progress we were making with him before I went back to work has been totally thwarted. I guess, except that once I go to bed with him I never ever have to get up any more.  I have definitely noticed there have been at least several nights where he sleeps at least 6 hour stretches! He still wakes up every night at some point(s) to eat, but now when he wakes up his midnight snack is right there ready to eat!  At least, right now, I am relatively well rested! And well cuddled!  

Oh, and yesterday I did my first workout in about a year! I ran 7.25 with a 2 mile tempo averaging about 7:10 pace.  I thought 7:20's would be about right, but after .5 at 7:19 it felt too easy, so I wratcheted that up to 7:12 and then the third .5 was at 7:06 and then the last was at 6:57.  This was all on the treadmill and it was only 2 miles so not really sure how it translates in terms of race fitness.  But, I am pleased with it. It's also pretty awesome that my legs feel great today! Better than they have in weeks! Thank goodness for running. Really, I don't know how I'd be coping with everything else going on without it!

Monday, March 02, 2009

H-I-Double Hockey Sticks


* So, I made the mistake of driving part of the course of the half-marathon I am planning to run at the end of May.  Peanut and I were on our way home from visiting my grandparents when he conked out in his car seat so I figured what they hay and decided to take a little drive while he snoozed.  Even though the race is relatively close to my house as far as races go, it's not in an area that I am all that familiar with.  I got off the freeway and it seemed harmless enough.  But then I made a turn onto the road that makes up the midsection of the race and drove the opposite direction.  Yikes.  And then about 5 miles later I turned around to go the way I'll be running in a few months. Double Yikes.  Seriously. It's insane! There are some big hills in the first 3.5 miles, but there are lots of breaks in between them so that's not too bad.  But the last 1.5 miles is a solid uphill with no breaks.  From the car, it looked pretty brutal. I know that a lot of the time hills look worse from the car than they do when you're actually running them, so I'll take my impression with a tiny grain of salt.  But yeah. Scary!!!!

I suppose it wasn't a mistake.  Now I have three months to dewussify myself to hills.  Besides being a stress case (which is my A#1 weakness as a runner, hands down!), hill running is probably my second biggest weakness as a runner.  I do not possess a lot of strength when it comes to anything other than a nice flat pristine road course.  Since I've been up and running post-pregnancy, I've been running a lot of hills.  I used to avoid hills because I was afraid of getting injured or something. You know, I'm not exactly sure why I avoided big hills when I was training before.  Looking back now it seems so dumb and like a huge wasted opportunity to become stronger. Anyway, after the pregnancy I was so slow and had nothing to lose so I hit the hills and let me tell you something--these hills that I used to think were monster hills are nothing! I can't believe I was afraid of them or thought that they were so so so so terrible.  And I'll tell you something else--I started throwing in more incline on my treadmill runs too and I can feel myself getting stronger and better capable of handling the hills.  

Now, throwing in a little 3% incline on my treadmill runs every other .25 miles is not going to prepare me for this half marathon.  I was talking to mrp the other night about how to get ready for them. I asked him what he thought of a workout where I did something like 4 x 90 second hill reps followed by 2 miles at tempo pace or subbing out my intervals for hills. Sensible ol' mrp just laughed at me.  "No," he said. "Don't overdo it. Just run more hills in general.  A race is just like a regular run, only harder. So, just run more hills on your regular runs."   Hmmm. Yeah. There is no hocus-pocus fancy hill workout that will magically make me a hill-running goddess. No, the key is to make hills unspecial.

So, with that in mind I decided to embark on my first 12 miler of the year on a course that used to scare me. The old me would have said, "it's you're first 12 miler. You better pick an easy course to ease back into things."  The new me said, "Those hills really aren't all that big of a deal.  Just take your time with them. Be consistent. Eventually, they will become eaiser."  Sure, the run was hard.  And sure, the pace was slow.  But, I conquered those hills and they really weren't nearly as bad as I feared. Sure my hammies and quads were talking to me the rest of the day, but that just means they're adapting. And like I said, if I keep it up it will get easier and I will be stronger! Plus, once I take out the fear-factor, it's a lot of fun to run big used-to-be nasty hills!

Last weeks numbers!

Mon: 7.5 miles with DD downtown (8:34) (love my downtown running buddies!!!)
Tue: 7 with E and DD downtown with 10 x 30 second strides thrown in throughout (8:19) (I somehow managed to keep up with E for most of the strides, although she was probably just being nice!)
Wed: 6.5 with E, DD and Jen downtown in a beautiful spring-like day! (9:15ish) (I am really enjoying these easy easy days with the girls!)
Thu: 7.25 with E and DD downtown on another warm day (8:50ish)
Fri: off (spent the entire say with peanut!)
Sat: 8.25 alone outside with 6 x 20 strides at the end (8:40's) (felt like a slug.)
Sun: 12 alone: 4 to the park; 4 on the trails at the park; and 4 home. (8:49) (felt like a slug for the first 4 but once I hit the trails I felt a lot better. Yeah trails!)

Total: 48.25
Weight: Still at 141. Damn cookies!

On tap for this week: a fartlek and a tempo! Progress!

*Both mrp and peanut are saying, "We're not afraid of hills!"