Sunday, February 28, 2010

Great Friends and Low Mileage

It's 9:30 and I really should be retiring for the evening, but instead here I sit and rat-a-tat type away. I was thinking about what a great run I had this morning. It wasn't so much the run itself, it was the gorgeous winter scenery and the company of great friends who drove from far and wide just so I would have some company. Both times I have been pregnant now, I have come to appreciate my friends more than ever. Friends who drive many miles. Friends who wait while I drive for 20 minutes to get the park 1.5 miles away from my house (long story). Friends who slow down the pace. Friends who wait while I pee (and incidentally show my bare butt to some random dude walking his dog--oops!) Friends who make me feel very lucky.

The run itself was actually pretty spectacular for me these days. I am surprising myself with how relatively fast I'm running this time around. I am a good minute per mile faster on my runs this pregnancy than I was last pregnancy. I'd bet a lot of that has to do with the cold weather versus the summer heat. But I also like to think some of that is because I'm in better shape. Who knows. I'll take it whatever the reason! But, according to the garmins we were running 8:40's at least for a while over the course of 10 miles. And I was even effortlessly conversating at that pace. Seriously, it felt easy.

The rest of the week was pretty dismal for my running. I only got a run in two other days and each of those runs were just 4 measly miles on the mill. The weather was very bad so I couldn't sneak out after mrp got home and I certainly couldn't take peanut out in that. So, I was stuck in the basement and either wasting a nap time when I should be working or waiting until after peanut went to bed when I was pretty much in zombie mode with just enough energy to cook and eat dinner before crashing. The one night mrp came down and talked to me for four miles and the other run I sucked it up and wasted a nap time. The rest of the days of the week provided no such inspiration. Oh well. 18 miles is better than nothing. Hopefully this is a pregnancy running low-point.

Anyway, I guess I'll be hitting the hay now. Maybe if I get a good night's sleep I can start the next week off with a run.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The First Time All over Again

Every so often I check the reader stats for my blog. One thing that always stands out to me is who finds my blog through a google search. The funniest thing to me is the post that comes up most often: this one about my bout with pleurisy is #1! The other thing that's funny, is that after I posted that risque picture of myself in my last post, my readership about doubled! I have no idea why, but I think it's funny. I hope you're not all laughing at me! With me is ok, but not AT me please.

Anyway, enough meta-blog stuff. Let's talk about running! I am excited to announce that my adorable little sister, Miss Adventurous (kyle the girl, whatever she's calling herself these days) is training for her first full marathon! I am so so so so excited to have the privilege of coaching her. I hope she doesn't mind if I tell you a bit about her journey. If she does, she will surely comment and let me know. Anyway, she's come such a long way. When we were kids, I was always the athletic over-achieving one and she was the creative emotional one. She struggled with her weight as a kid and as a young adult, yet in high school she joined the cross-country team anyway. She was the kid that always won the spirit award: She was far from fast (her 5k pr was something like 28:00), but she always gave it her all. After high school, she like me pretty much hung up her running shoes. But again, like me, picked it back up seriously in her late 20's (although she beat me there: I didn't start again until I was 29 and she when she was 28).

Since she started running again, she has amazed herself with her progress and her hot new body! She has lost a lot of weight and looks amazingly fly (although she was always beautiful if you ask me!) What's truly amazing is how far she's come. She ran her first half-marathon last October in 2:04. She improved that to 1:55 last month! I know lots of serious runners who work for years to break 2:00 for a half and my little artsy unathletic sister comes out of nowhere and does it almost effortlessly.

That's not to say that there are no obstacles in her quest to run her first marathon. She works in the movie biz and her work hours can be training-prohibitive at times, so her training schedule needs to be flexible. I have her running 4-6 days (whatever she can get in) with a long run, a medium long run\tempo, a shorter run with strides or intervals and a firm easy 6 miler every week. She can fill in with 1-3 easy 4 milers if she has time or feels up to it. She will peak at 50 miles per week max, but will mostly be hovering around 40-45 miles per week. She will race her first tune-up 4-mile race this weekend to see where she's at fitness-wise and from there we will set her training paces. After that she has a 15k at the end of March and then she'll just plug away until the big day in Cleveland on May 16!

I am just hoping that I can run the last 1-3 miles with her. It should be interesting at 35 weeks pregnant! But, I think the adrenaline and excitement of running her in to her first marathon finish will help #2 and me to don our running shoes and get the job done! Oh, I cannot wait!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I Guess You Could Say it "Fits"

You could also say I need to clean the bathroom mirror!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bah-Bah!

After a couple of light weeks on the running front, I managed to get out these last 5 days in a row. The sun came out most of those days. Sunny days in February here are official holidays. I was able to get peanut out in the BOB on the bike path Thursday and Friday. It was noticeably harder than the last time I pushed him through the snow, slush and ice. It might be because of the path conditions or it might be the extra pounds and the bigger #2. Who knows. I am just happy to get out in the sun!

Yesterday I snuck out later in the afternoon, after sneaking in an hour nap nonetheless, for 6 miles. I was pleased to see my pace back to normal. A brisk 9:15 average, which is very good for me given the hilly terrain. And get this: within a 6 mile run I had to take three pee breaks! And yes, that meant I had to pee along the side of the road. Good thing for trees! You wouldn't believe it from that run, but my pregnant bladder has actually improved a lot over the last month or so. Around the second trimester mark the uterus lifts up off the bladder, well at least until later in the third trimester when the baby is so huge it's ALWAYS on the bladder. Fun times. Yesterday, I made the mistake of running 45 minutes after a cup of tea. Dumb.

Then this morning I headed out to my local park to run with the group there. I tried to find someone who would putz along with me at a nice 9:00-9:30 pace, but no such luck. I was stuck with whatever the group was doing. Luckily I hooked up with a high school girl recovering from the flu--I smelled weakness and knew I could convince her it was ok to run 9:00 pace. I ran with her for about 5.5 and then the kids left and it was just grown-ups left. There were some guys continuing on for 40 minutes, but I figured I was good for another 20ish so I decided to head out with them and then cut back when I was ready. I ended up running 3 more miles with them in 26:00 and I actually held a conversation. I felt like a superstar! Normally there isn't much difference between a 9:00 and an 8:40 pace, but these days it feels like I have no pace range. 9:30 is super easy. 9:00 is brisk. 8:40 is tempo pace. And anything under 8:00 is crazy-legged sprinting.

I can't complain though. This time last pregnancy I was lucky to ever break 10:00 pace and finish a run without a walk break or two. I'm definitely running better and more comfortably this time. It could be that it's not hot. But I like to think it's because I'm just more fit and generally bad-assed. Whatever it takes to get me through these next four months!

In other news, peanut just gets cuter every day. These days he is very enamored with the treadmill. He climbs up on it and starts walking backwards! We turn it on for him and he walks at .5 mph for a few seconds before dropping to all-fours and riding it off the back. He just loves it!

And even more precious, he has started to say bye-bye and wave and he even does it at the appropriate time! He started doing it all of a sudden. The thing is that is so extra cute about it though is that he doesn't pronounce it "bye-bye" he pronounced it "bah-bah." And he yells it. It is seriously the sweetest thing I think I have ever witnessed.

Anyway, I have a lot of work to do and have been doing enough procrastinating (as usual). So, bah-bah!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wherever You Run There You Are

That time is upon us--it's time for me to submit my next OS&F article!

I am in the middle of my draft, but I'd still love your input. Who knows, maybe I'll even quote you!

This month's topic is how learning to think in the moment can help us to race faster. I have always struggled with the mental aspect of running. Ask mrp. He has told me time and time again that my brain is the biggest impediment to my running success. I have had some success with thinking in the moment. It helps to keep my mind from going bonkers worrying about what other people are doing or getting down on myself with thoughts like, "you need to run faster!" or "you're running too fast, you're going to die!" or "there's so and so and you you can't run faster than him\her." As you may know, I struggled for a while with stitches in the middle of key workouts or races and mrp and I are convinced the stitches were a physical manifestation of the tension caused by my loony-tunes inner critic. I am definitely a work in progress, but I am getting better (or was until my racing got put on hold a few months ago!)

The other thing that I wouldn't mind weaving into my article is how yoga might help us race more relaxed. I just started practicing yoga (yeah, I am VERY late to that party! I know!) and I can definitely see how the meditations and connecting the physical movements with breathing might really help me get into the moment and relax in races.

Have any of you experienced something similar? Do you have a mantra to keep your mind from racing faster than your legs? Has your racing improved after practicing the mental aspects of yoga? Do you have another way of tuning out the distractions and negative inner voices to focus on the task at hand mid-race?



Friday, February 12, 2010

All Through the Night

I know I've discussed peanut's sleep issues here in the past. It's definitely been a challenge to get him to sleep without fights or frequent wake ups. Over the last almost 15 months mrp and I would get on top of one problem--say fighting when we put him down--only for another one to spring up in its place--say waking up frequently in the night. For a while mrp could soothe peanut during a night wake up, but somewhere along the line peanut decided it was going to be me soothing or an hour-plus of crying. And not just crying, SCREAMING. So, just to make things easier, I'd go up when peanut woke up, nurse him and put him back to bed. Two or three times of a 5 minute nursing session was much better than hours of screaming!

Well, then I suddenly found myself half-way through my second pregnancy. With the thought of being up all night nursing a newborn and then having to tend to my manipulative screaming toddler at 4 a.m., something needed to be done. Period. Mrp and I have been wracking our brains trying to figure out what would work. Since he was 5 months old we have tried Ferber, the No-Cry Sleep Solution, the Baby Whisper, etc. You name it, we tried it. With peanut it seems the best way to help him take big leaps is to wait until he finally reaches a point where he gets it. And we believed we were at that point (it also helped that we were over it and extremely motivated too!)

And what he got has now caused him to sleep through the night for over a week straight now. And no nursing from night-night time until his first nap at the earliest (I'm only nursing 2-3 times a day, which is a HUGE improvement from the 4-6 times a day I was nursing him just a week or so ago!) So what did we do Well, we sat peanut down and we said this:

Peanut, after mommy and daddy put you down for night-night there will be no more booby. If you cry after night-night mommy and daddy will come make sure you're all right, give you a hug and some water and if you're ok we will leave and go back to sleep. It's ok if you cry when we leave. We know it's hard to grow into a big boy. But you can do it. We love you.

People. It worked! Sure, part of it is that we've 100% stuck to the plan. If he wails between the hours of 7:30 and 6:30 a.m. both mrp and I head up as a team and give him the schtick "It's night-night time. Here's some water. We love you. We know it's hard, but you can do it. It's ok to cry. We are tired so we are going back to sleep now. Good night." And we give him the big shpeel every night before bed. He completely gets it. Last night he cried at 3:30, his first middle of the night wake up in days. Mrp and I marched up, went through the routine. He was screaming as we closed the door, but by the time I peed and climbed in bed, silence. And I didn't hear another peep until 6:58 a.m.!

I feels good to take back the power. It's amazing how these little tiny people call the shots some times!

Monday, February 08, 2010

All Atwitter

So, if you haven't noticed I've added a twitter feed to the blog over there on the right. Originally, I just wanted a little box to post a daily inspiration. I was running on Saturday and I was inspired (heh) by the whole Brooks ID thing to post what inspires me daily. So, I am doing that on twitter and of course that comes across in the feed. However, I decided to just go full blown twitter and tweet to my heart's content. So, somedays you might just see my daily inspiration and other days there might be a stream of tweets because I had too much coffee (after #2 is born--very limited caffein until then!)

In other news I barely managed to run 4 days last week. The weather is back to cold and gross so I was only able to take peanut out once. The other weekday I snuck out after mrp got home from work milking the daylight for all it was worth! I had plenty of time for 4 miles, but I'm not a big fan of running on the roads at that time because a-holes are in a hurry to get home and drive like maniacs on my twisty turny hilly street. I was a glowing bright pink beach ball out there, but all it takes is some jerk on a cell phone or eating a big mac and I'm diving in a ditch. So, it kind of takes the fun out of the run a bit when you're constantly assessing the jump-in-worthiness of the ditches.

Oh, and then the weekend was crazy! On Saturday mrp and I put on our Pheasant Valley farmer hats and had a meeting with a farmers market board to try to get them to take us on for a Saturday market. That would be so sweet! I still managed to get in a solid six and still get back in time to make it to my last prenatal yoga class of the series at my local yoga center. My mother-in-law gave me a 5 class pass for xmas. So nice!

Yesterday, I had tons of work and then a baby shower for the fab Jen C. When I got home mrp had also just arrived with peanut asleep in his truck. I totally had given up on a run for the day, but mrp insisted--"GO!" He said. "Just get out and do 3 or 4 miles." So, I did. And I'm so happy. The sun was still shining even at close to 5 o'clock and there were no a-holes and no ditch-diving strategizing. Just me, the road and a little bit of winter sun.


Wednesday, February 03, 2010

I'm a Brooks Girl!

I just got an acceptance e-mail into the 2010 Brooks ID Program. If you're not familiar with the program, it's a sponsorship from Brooks for runners who "inspire daily" (that's the I.D.) I like to think I inspire daily and I definitely strive to do that. Hopefully it's true. Needless to say, though, I am pumped!

Although, I am also nervous. How am I going to fit in the racing uniform? I really don't think a small singlet is going to cut it right now. And then I think about after I have #2. How long until it will fit then. Will I be able to wear it if I run a race or two in August for fun? Maybe I can inspire Brooks to start a maternity line. Seriously. All my friend are starting families and all the runners are still running. We have to wear something!

And now that we're on the topic, my belly is cold these days! All my running shirts are way too short and I have to wear my pants at a slant. I typically either wear a jacket or a long-sleeve t-shirt over my tech shirts and luckily those are long enough that I'm not either embarrassing myself or offending on-lookers. But, there is that space between the tech shirt and my pants that is just covered by the outer-layer that gets so cold! Poor #2's shivering in there! At least I can still fit in my clothes, though. For that I am very very grateful! But, I am just 4.5 months pregnant. Yikes! I still have a loooooong way to go!

But I am so exciting to run for a great company. I really do love all my Brooks gear (that jacket that still covers my belly happens to be Brooks' element jacket and I LOVE it a. because it still fits but b. because it's water and windproof but light and soft rather than heavy and stiff). It's wonderful that the company supports the running community as much as it does. I feel very fortunate to be a part of the Brooks ID family.

Just for kicks (well, if I can actually get it on my body) I'll take a photo of myself in the race uniform and post it. Now THAT should be entertaining!






Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Gray Today Sun Tomorrow

Peanut is thankfully doing so much better. He even slept pretty well last night. I only had to get up with him for a few minutes twice. Not bad, considering I was up with him probably 12 times the night before!

He is doing so much better, that mrp and I decided to keep him on his schedule and I dropped him off at the sitter this morning at 8:00 sharp as usual. He started sobbing as soon as he knew I was going, but he always does that lately. Poor little guy! It just breaks my heart to see his little pouty red face and his arms outstretched to me. But I know it's best for everyone that I go. And when I get to the sitter's house to pick him up I bet he'll be happy as a clam as he always is.

In other news, I am struggling with the imminent decline of two grandparents. I am so lucky at the ripe ol' age of 34, to still have all four of my grandparents living. It's even more awesome that peanut has gotten to know them. It's funny though, in each couple one grandparent is super healthy and full of vim and vigor and the other is frail and in ill health. So, over the last week or so I've learned that the frail member of each grandparent couple is very very ill.

(quick aside: this law student sitting at the table next to me is talking to another student across the room-which really is irritating in itself--and dropping the f-bomb every other word. Here's your future lawyers, America!)

It's so crazy, that I went to the hospital last week to visit my grandpa (we'll call him grandpa w) and while peanut and I were waiting for the elevator my other grandpa (grandpa g) was in it going up to see grandma g while she was getting a blood transfusion! It was kind of nice for us--we got to see all my grandparents in one trip! I found on that grandpa w was released from the hospital on Monday, but now grandma g has been admitted. There is talk of hospice. It's sad.

Yeah, running isn't really a top priority right now. If I wasn't pregnant I think I'd be running more than ever to make sense of things. But, that doesn't work as well when you're pregnant. Well, pregnant and raising a toddler and trying to do too many other things at once and have no time or extra energy to get in a good run. Now I try making sense of things when I'm tossing and turning at 5:00 a.m. or rocking with peanut in the middle of the night. I don't know if these methods are just less effective, but things aren't making sense the way they used to.

That being said, the forecast calls for mid-30's and sun tomorrow and Thursday. Look out bike path! Peanut and I are going for some runs outside! Maybe by the end of the week, things will make more sense.


Monday, February 01, 2010

Squeeze

Peanut is sick. My head is about to explode. Between the waking up every 45 minutes last night, the clinginess and normal daily stress I am so over it. I can say this because I took him to the pediatrician and he checks out fine. He just has some kind of bug. He seems happy most of the time, but is not sleeping and demanding much more of my attention than usual. I've had about 5 minutes to myself all day. It's hard enough to get anything done under normal circumstances!

I still have quit a bit of work to do for tomorrow's class and I haven't even started Thursday's assignment. Also, as luck would have it the attorney I contract for wants me to call him about meeting up and discussing more work for me. I can't even find a free second to call.

How am I posting this, you ask? I am letting peanut play with the tv. He's entertaining himself turning it on and off. Hey. You got to do what you got to do. Ok. My tea is ready. I'm going to try to enjoy it. Wish me luck peanut doesn't need my lap for twenty minutes or so!