Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Keep on Keepin' On

I can't believe I'm already in the third trimester! This pregnancy is flying by. In just about 12 weeks we'll meet our daughter. I cannot wait!

To celebrate entering this final chapter of my pregnancy, I met up with my friend Carmen and the running moms group she runs with every Saturday. Carmen wanted to get in 10 miles. I wasn't sure how that would work out for me with the whole toe-foot issues I was having early last week, but I figured I'd give it a go. I headed out with Carmen and two other women. The pace didn't feel too bad to start, but within a mile we hit the hills. Holy heck! Hills are rough while pregnant. I suck some wind up hills these days! These hills were long, but not as steep as the ones I usually run up so I managed to hang ok. After we crested the worst of the hills around mile three I felt more comfortable and just cruised along with the other ladies.

When we were almost to the turnaround, Carmen asked me if I wanted to know how fast we were going. She said 7:45 pace! This is nuts! Every run I'm running faster and faster. I definitely felt like I was running faster than I would have on my own, but it didn't feel THAT fast. If I were to set my treadmill at 7:45 pace I think I'd fall off! And there I was trotting along on a hilly run and having a conversation at that pace. Weird.

Of course the whole run wasn't 7:45 pace. According to Carmen's Garmin (heh), for the first 5 miles we ran something like 9:10; 9:00; 8:25; 8:01; 7:45. After the turn around one of the other women and I realized we graduated from law school together (we never had a class together) so we fell back a bit and chatted all the way back. Carmen said we finished around 1:24, which would be about an 8:20 average pace. That's nuts. Of course, I was pooped after the run but not as bad as I worried I'd feel. Nothing a little huevos rancheros and a cat nap couldn't cure, anyway.

This was a great run, but I've been noticing over the last week or so on my runs by myself I am feeling more and more sluggy especially for the first couple of miles. For instance yesterday was a beautiful evening and I hit the road as soon as mrp got home. I wanted to do 5 but once I started to run I realized 4 might be a wiser bet. I felt like I weighed as much as I do. My legs were logs. My stride was pathetic. I felt horribly awkward and just heavy. I putzed along and couldn't help but wonder if maybe my running days are numbered. While I don't think the end is that near--I think I can at least make it until 34 weeks like I did last time--I do know that even though I can still bust out an awesome run these days they are becoming fewer and farther in between than they were earlier in the pregnancy.

I can accept the limitations this watermelon under my shirt impose on me. I'll just take it day by day. I may need to start shortening my runs and taking more off days, maybe sub in a walk some days instead of a run. I'm open minded about it all and listening to the ol' bod. But in the meantime, as long as I generally feel good I'll keep on keepin' on!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Not Much Ado About a Pinky Toe

* After the pinky incident, I realized that I often I feel like I'm hanging by a thread. A minor injury and I could be done with running for months! If I get behind with my assignments I'll end up a horrible professor! If I don't start on my #2 to-do-list right now we'll be totally unprepared for two kids! If I'm not all things to all people all the time I am a horrible person!

Newsflash: I'm 6.5 months pregnant and a stay-at-home mom to a 16 month old and working two part-time jobs and volunteering on several other projects and trying to keep up a time and energy consuming hobby (running) and also trying to stay sane. Yeah. I might end up feeling like poo from time to time.

If I could do it all over again I certainly wouldn't have taken on so much while being pregnant or at least requested more help. I think that's the key thing. So often these last few weeks I feel in over my head and in need of help but I don't know where to get the help so I just plug along on my own and end up exhausted and even worse feeling all alone. Throw in a bum pinky toe and an obstacle to spending 45 minutes of peace with myself running and I'm a wreck!

I'm sorry to whine. I really really don't want to dwell on the negativity, but I find that sometimes I have to focus on it and let it all out in order to get rid of it. Thanks for bearing with me!

In other news, my toe is still sore but much better. I can't wear most of my running shoes right now without them putting pressure on the bruise, but I fortunately have a pair of Asics I ran in from time to time but never loved so there's some miles left on them. They have a wide toebox and are perfect for wearing right now. The crazy thing is that on Wednesday, the day after I stubbed my toe I was limping around all day but it was because my foot and ankle hurt! I must have strained the tendons while limping from the toe! How annoying! I ended up not running on Wednesday, but I met JenC and BS for a 3.5 mile walk. They are both pregnant and overdue! (*Aren't they beautiful with their big bumps!) It was so nice to get out with some friends and talk about birth and babies and fun stuff like that.

As for my foot, it hurt sometimes on the walk but felt better at other times so I figure it's fine. I went out for a run last night with peanut and wanted to at least get in 3 miles to try it out. It ended up feeling the same as it did on the walk and I was enjoying running as the snow fell (I know. FREAK!) So, I added on another mile for the heck of it. I ran into my friend NC in the parking lot and she was planning to meet E for a 5 mile tempo at 6:18 pace (which is pr 5 mile pace for E!). Oh, if I can join them someday again I will be a happy girl! They are kicking butt!

On the home front, mrp and I are having dinner together tonight and three of my besties from high school are coming over on Sunday with all their little ones so that should be fun (I am trying not to stress about cleaning!) I hope to make it down to run with Carmen, et al on Saturday. We'll see how the foot holds up and if I can make headway on this 3-mile long to-do list I have going on. Blogging isn't helping in that endeavor so with that, have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Pinky Toe

Mrp got home today and I started to cry. I could list the millions of reasons why I cried, but what good is that? It's so weird how one can be so happy with life in a macro-sense yet get so mired in the everyday dumb nonsense and get so blue on the micro-level ... especially when 6-plus months pregnant.

What's really weird is how just one little thing like a stubbed toe leading to a missed run can be that straw that lets the tears come down. I could have really used that run today. Running always reminds me of that macro-happiness on days like today. But just as we were getting ready to head to the park I banged my pinky toe into the corner of the wall. It hurt like any bad stub hurts, but I figured it would go away like they mostly do. Not this time. Beet red. Sore. Swollen. Yet, not broken. So I tried to put my running shoes on anyway--hey, the sun finally came out--but to no avail. The swelling made it very uncomfortable just to have the shoe on let alone run, so no run. I tried to do a yoga dvd instead, but between a poopy diaper and a toddler trying to play with a dish and then getting a hold of the remote I only made it through 35 minutes of the hour program before surrendering to my fate.

I threw in the towel and headed in to the kitchen to make peanut's dinner. I plopped him in the high chair and we started the usual push and pull of our feeding ritual. He's into eating for a few bites and then resistant for a few, usually because he sees geese or birds or the field cat roaming around outside and gets distracted. Finally, mrp arrived home. "How was your day?" he asked. And that's when the crying started.

It was just one of those cries where I couldn't talk and really had no idea why I was crying. The pregnant woman's burden, I guess you could say. I told mrp to take peanut outside to play. I sat there by myself for a few minutes and took a deep breath. I went outside myself and watched mrp and peanut playing out in the sunshine. And then I remembered that two years ago today mrp and I found out we were going to be parents and all those dumb and annoying little things melted away. My toe still hurts though.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Bump on a Log

* I heart my running log. It's so nice to have the past 3-plus years of runs all logged in one easy to access spot. These days I love looking back at my last pregnancy to see how I was feeling then. It can really put things into perspective.

This past week, for instance, I've been noticing a familiar burning sensation on my lower legs at about mile 2.5 of my runs. Last pregnancy, by 34 weeks my legs would fill with lactic acid and because my blood flow was all messed up by the massive baby jumping around in my uterus, the lactic acid would just sit in my legs and make it unbearable to continue running beyond about .5 miles. Well, I was a little worried that this was happening to me already at 25-26 weeks. So, I checked my log and sure enough by this point last pregnancy I had been complaining about it for a few weeks already. Yeah! My running days are not necessarily numbered!

The other thing I noticed in my log from last pregnancy is how slow I was going all the time. There were days I was barely cracking 11:00 pace with walk breaks around this point in my pregnancy. This time, a slow day is over 9:30 pushing the BOB and over 9:10 or so by myself. If I run with others I am always shocked at how fast we're going. Today I was running with a group on the trails by my house. I've always been slow on these trails. I remember back in 2007 when I was possibly in my best shape ever I felt like I was hauling to run in the 8:20's on the trails. Halfway through this morning's 7.5 miler a guy I was running with said, "we're clipping along at a nice pace." I asked him what pace we were running, figuring it was something like 9:30 which to me sounded a bit brisk for me these days on the trails. His reply stunned me, "8:24 pace." I felt fine. Sure, it felt faster than I would run on my own, but still I was holding a conversation and didn't feel like I was dying. At the end of the run we had to run up a megahill and I ran up the entire way and I stopped for a few seconds to help the guy up after he tripped on a root, so that slowed us down a little. I ended up averaging 8:46 pace for the entire run with no breaks whatsoever. I don't think I could have done that on a smooth flat road with three breaks last pregnancy. This is nice!

That's not to say I feel so good and capable on every run. Some days I probably do not deviate much from a 10:00 pace (I normally don't pay much attention--just run my route with no watch). I'm not sure this really will translate into anything after the pregnancy. It's nice to hope maybe I'll bounce back a little more quickly. Who knows. I'm certainly not counting on that happening. But I am enjoying it while I got it!

PS Thank you to everyone who offered up such kind words in the comments to my last post. You all made me feel a lot better that I'm a) not alone and b) not a hopeless heifer. When all is said and done a healthy baby is so worth a temporarily jiggly butt even if said butt jiggles all the way through the summer racing season! It will pass.

*I would probably be better off putting up pictures of cheetahs and gazelles than piglets and lazy seals, but I'll save those bits of inspiration for when they can actually do some good!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Weighty Matter

* I don't like to talk about weight and all that stuff. It makes me uncomfortable. Maybe it's because I've always kind of weighed a lot for my size. For instance, when my non-running friends are calling me Skeletor I still weigh a few pounds shy of 130 lbs. I know this isn't a lot in the real world and certainly nothing to be ashamed of, but for whatever reason I am not super comfortable discussing the topic.

At the same time, the weight gain this pregnancy is really bugging me. I've already gained 30 lbs from my pre-taper weight (I don't weigh myself during marathon taper or the month after). I'm sure I gained some pounds in the week after the marathon when I didn't run--happy pounds as a friend calls them. But still. I am not quite 26 weeks pregnant and up at least a pound a week. My body did the exact same thing last pregnancy, but I think because pregnancy was such a novel and interesting concept I didn't care so much. This time, I am caring and it is worrying me. It was one thing to need to lose 30 lbs over the winter after I had peanut, but it's a whole 'nother ball of wax to have to lose that in the summer. I can't hide in sweaters. It'll be racing season. Sigh.

I talked to my midwife about it. She said since I gained a lot and then lost it so easily last time (I was back to pre-pregnancy weight by 5-6 months post-partum) I really shouldn't worry about it. She said some women just gain a lot. It's just what they do. I talked about it with another pregnant athlete friend and her doctor said a lot of female athletes gain more than the recommended 25-35 lbs because we are so lean to begin with. I swear it feels like my metabolism has just shut down. I am not eating the thousands of extra calories I would need to pile on these pounds. I started tracking what I eat and I eat at the high end of the recommended range, but that range does not even take exercise or breastfeeding into the mix. And I'm not eating things like bags of Doritos or anything like that. I am cognizant of my lean protein intake, eat almost all whole grains and lots of fruits and veggies.

Sure, this doesn't happen to every athlete (damn you lean pregnant athlete freaks!) But at least anecdotally it seems fairly common for us normally lean active ladies. Before I tracked what I ate I was feeling a lot of guilt and worry about being a pig. I take pride in my fit body and it is very difficult to see it pack on the pounds even for the best cause in the world. I take responsibility for my fitness and I guess I just assumed it was my "fault" that I was gaining so much weight. But, by talking to my midwife and tracking what I've been eating I see I'm not a gluttonous pig or anything. I am eating what I need to eat to be healthy and this is what my body's doing with it. And if that means I get another kid as great as peanut out of the deal then I can live happily with some unfamiliar flab for a few months.

* I don't mean to be self-deprecating with this image. I just thought it was really cute and fitting--I feel like a little bit of a pig and this is a little bit of a pig! And it's a baby. And it looks like it's running.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Friends and Stuff

So, I'm working on my next article for OS&F. This time I want to write about the role friends play in helping us be the best runners we can be. I could write a million pages about my friends and how they've helped me become a better runner (and better person for that matter!) I'll be back after I write my article to share some of my personal feelings on the subject, but for now please share how your friends have helped you become a better runner, person or just made running more fun. I'd love to hear your stories or just generalized observations about your experiences. Thanks!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Green Glow

* How about a race report? I decided I was ready to squeeze into my day-glo best and toe the line for the St. Malachi 5 mile race with #2 in tow. I met up with GP, her boyfriend NB and E to caravan over to the Cleveland Flats. We parked and got out of our respective cars and immediately turned to each other and all four of us acknowledged the weather sucked! Windy, cold, rainy. Basically, the least fun weather possible. No matter. We would not be deterred! E just came to spectate and cheer us on while she logged an easy day. GP planned to just run along with NB at whatever pace he felt like keeping. I figured I'd line up with them, but we got separated. I did a quick warm-up with E and DD and we passed the brand sparkling new Hustler Club. (I used to run by it on my tempo\fartlek route and was so sad when it closed, but now it's back! Too bad I hardly ever run downtown anymore. Maybe an incentive to go back to work. Heh.)

After the warm-up it was time to find a starting spot. Since DD and my myriad other friends were probably running too fast for me and plus the starting line was a zoo, I just dove in the middle and headed out on my own. It took a long time to get to the starting line and a while to get going in the race, but I figure the forced slow start is good for me.

While racing as a pregnant person, I find it best to start slow and ease into things. I can push a little after the first mile, a little more at the halfway point and then can push the last mile as hard as I want. Those are my rules regardless of the race length and it seems to work. Today was no different. My first mile was 8:46 which was fine given I wasn't about to risk tripping over the sea of slower runners I was swimming in for the first .5 miles or so. I basically just passed people the entire race, which I have to admit is very fun as a pregnant chick. I love hearing, "Oh man! A pregnant chick just passed me!" It might be pathetic, but it makes my day!

I upped the effort for mile two and ran it in 7:38. I found GP and NB shortly after the 2 mile mark but only because GP yelled at me. They were just casually trotting along and I felt good so I kept on chugging at my own pace. I held steady, not wanting to push too much knowing there was some serious hillage coming up. I just wanted to survive those and make it to the turnaround point at the top without walking. Hills aren't my strong suit these days. My heartrate seems to skyrocket on the big ones so just being able to keep running up any hills is a good goal. The first hill in this race is long and gradual and that didn't seem to bother me too much. The next one comes shortly after and it's much steeper, but I made it up ok and was not crazy out of breath at the crest. I started my descent and let #2 carry me back down. I was shocked to see so many people still coming the opposite way. I really felt like I was in the back of the pack, but actually not so much.

Anyway, I continued on and mile 3 was 7:47. Not bad considering the hills. I just kept trotting along and passing people. I passed a woman around 3.5 and she said, "nice pace you got going there." I slowed down and talked to her and tried to convince her to come with me and try to break 40 minutes. She started slowing down and sent me on my way without her. This slowed mile 4 down a little bit, but it was still 7:47.

I got to the 4th mile marker and started my final push. I was feeling good. A little tired, but good. I knew the last 300 meters or so was a killer hill so I didn't want to be too too crazy. I cruised along and caught up to a guy in a kilt. We joked that we should team up and and drive all the people we pass nuts for getting passed by the pregnant lady and the kilt guy. Heh. I ended up smokin' the kilt guy! I made it to the hill and figured as long as I could run up it I would break 40:00. I chugged and chugged and crossed with a clock time in 39:5x. I stopped my watch at 39:28. I was a little out of breath from the hill, but generally felt pretty good. Before the race, I thought sub-40 was a stretch goal, but it turned out to be easier than I thought. I'll take it!

After the race, I found E and we cheered on GP and NB as they did their final hill chug to the finish. It was freakin' cold, so I left E and got a bottle of water and headed back to our meeting point so I could say goodbye to GP and NB and get home to a hot shower! I did that, made it to my car and shivered all the way home to the giggles and hugs of peanut and mrp. Crappy weather. Great morning!

*Thanks to E for the photos!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Running Strollers and Infants

I have a question for all my fabulous and experienced readers! How old was your baby when you started running with him\her in the running stroller? What kind of stroller did you use?

I got a BOB Duallie SUS for a steal on Craigslist and was planning to get the infant carseat adapter for walks and then running around 2 months or so (won't want to run with a giant double stroller until I'm strong enough again!) Last time it wasn't warm enough to take peanut out in the BOB until he was almost 4 months old. His neck was always very strong and I stuck to paved paths so I wasn't too worried about him (or the recommendation from BOB to wait until he was 8 months old). This time I'll be itching to run with both of them earlier since it will still be summer. I don't want to push it, though. If #2's not ready to hit the bikepath, I don't want to force the issue. At the same time, I will need to get my runs in!

So, please share your experience and advice so I can start planning my big comeback. Can't wait!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

What to Wear?

I am planning to run my first race ever as a Brooks girl on Saturday. The last time I ran this race was in 2007 and I met two great friends there, JP and EM! It should be fun since I think every single friend or family member that lives in town will be running it or planning to come watch (I'm talking about you E!). The only thing I am worried about it what to wear?

I have to wear Brooks gear, which under normal circumstances would be easy. I'd throw on my uniform. The problem is that it doesn't fit. If you recall, this is what it looked like a couple of weeks ago. It's even tighter now! Some pregnant women have no problem parading around in their sports bra and shorts, but that's not me! I really don't want my belly hanging out. I think I've rigged it up so I can have my belly covered and still wear the outfit. Sure, the shorts fit funny because my butt is big and I have to wear them at a slant. And sure, the B-R-O-O-K-S is stretched to it's max across the boobs I normally don't have. But, really I can deal with that as long as my belly is covered.

Here's my master plan to cover said belly. I have to wear a long sleeved black top with a black maternity stretchy camisole over it and then the long bra top over that! The only thing I'm not sure about is whether I will tuck up the long part of the top so it's just a bra over my black shirts or if I leave it cover half my belly. I just worry it will ride up and be annoying more than anything else.

I am just glad the weather is cooperating. 45 degrees will be perfect to race in a long sleeved top and shorts. Any hotter or colder and this plan would not work!

Now, whether I will actually race I have no idea. Today I ran 6 by myself while peanut was at the sitter's. It was beautiful out: high 50's and sun. I felt really really pregnant and awkward. I was running low 9:00's but just felt clunky. At about 4.5 miles I felt better and decided to do some 20 second strides with 40 seconds rest to see if that would make me feel less like humpty dumpty. The first stride was slow and awkward, but I have to say after each one I felt better and it seemed like I was running faster and faster with less and less effort. I did a total of 6 of them. I'm glad I did. I will just have to show up and see how I feel. At least I'll definitely look hot ... or something.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Competitiveness

Two years ago I wrote about female runner competitiveness and for whatever reason it's been marinating around in my brain all morning. I'm sure it has something to do with all the races going on around town and the stunningly perfect race weather we have today!

I've always been known to be a competitive person. My mother used to make fun of me when I was little for getting upset if I didn't win something. In 5th grade my teacher gave out apple cards for excellent work. I had over 100 of them, at least triple the amount of the kid with the next highest amount. I was one of those kids.

This even translated into running way back when. Every year as part of the presidential physical fitness test my class had to run a "long" race--I think it was a mile, but all I remember is running all around the big school yard. I came in second every year to a girl who flunked twice and although I was proud of myself and knew it wasn't quite a fair fight, it still irked me that she always won!

This trait has served me well. As an adult it manifests itself less as competitiveness and more type-A-ness. I see something I want and I go for it (well, that's certainly an oversimplification!) But with running sometimes, it's easy to fall back into that childish competitiveness: I want more ribbons than so-and-so! How did SHE beat me? And so on and so forth.

It's easy for me to see this now that I can't compete. It seems silly that I ever got caught up in any of that. I am embarrassed to admit that I've stooped to getting mad that I could never outrun a particular person or even comparing myself as a runner to anyone. I'm sure I'm not alone in having these adolescent impulsive thoughts. As much as I know we're not supposed to think that way, it's almost an automatic response when towing the line. And really, it's a damn shame.

I was trying to think where these thoughts come from. Is it a girl thing? Girls seem to be fairly competitive with each other about all kinds of things: who has better clothes; a hotter boyfriend, etc. I'm sure much of it has to do with insecurity and just plain ol' jealousy. It just seems like one of those under-evolved mindsets that we often fall into that will never change unless we work really hard to change them (or that never beset some of us who are very self-assured and highly evolved to begin with--unfortunately not me much of the time!)

Whatever the reason I really want to get to a place where I am happy with me and happy with everyone else's success. When I have a chance to step back and think about it I always am happy for others' success, but when I am feeling down and out it's easy to automatically focus on others rather than myself. When I first started this post I thought the key to improving this situation was to have kinder thoughts towards others but as I write I am realizing the key is to be more accepting of myself and the rest will follow.

My grand vision is to foster success among all female runners. Instead of hoping my competitors choke, I want to hope they bring their A-game and raise my game along with theirs and vice versa. I want to inspire more women to compete at a higher level even if that means they leave me in their dust along the way. I am not selfless, though. I want to raise my game too, but I think the best way to do that is to quit focusing on what everyone else is doing and all the things I'm doing wrong and focus on doing my best and appreciating what my life has to offer me and what my own muscly strong legs can do.

Friday, March 05, 2010

The Body Talks

It's hard being on the sidelines these days. As the winter slowly creeps to spring I long to get out there and whip my body into shape. Yet, here I sit in my pj's eating oatmeal and careful not to push my pregnant body too far.

It always amazes me how the pregnant body knows how to communicate that it's feeling a bit overwhelmed. I took peanut up to the park on Wednesday afternoon since it was brilliantly sunny and semi-warm, around 36 degrees. When we arrived at the park, a running acquaintance pulled into the parking lot at the same time. She's very fast so I figured we'd just chat before heading out on our respective runs. Well, after we got to chatting she decided to start with me and surprisingly I was comfortable clipping along at a not too too slow pace and she was game for a super easy (for her) run so we just ran together. It's always nice to run with someone new and the company made my planned easy 4 miler into a brisk 6 miler. Even pushing peanut in the BOB through slush and ice I managed to average 8:53 pace!

But later on that evening I was pooped between the harder run and all the work I had to do for my morning class. Braxton Hicks contractions picked up and I was so wiped out by 9:30. I crawled into bed to rest my weary baby-filled body. It felt so good to lay down! I slept like I was in a coma, even after getting up about 5 times to pee in the middle of the night!

Contrast this with last night. I taught my last class before spring break in the morning and came home and napped with peanut. After we woke up, since the weather was equally perfect for a winter run as the day prior we hit the park. There was quite a bit less slush and ice and I leisurely trotted for a measly four miles. I thought about 5, but remembered how I felt the night before and quit at 4. Peanut and I arrived home just as mrp was coming down the hill. It's always so nice to have our daily reunion outside in the sun! We all came in and gave peanut his dinner and then played in the basement until bed. With no work to do during the evening hours, I felt peppy and full of energy all evening and even chatted with mrp about this and that well after 10:00 p.m. #2 seemed content and her home was not agitated.

So the moral of the story is that even though I want to push my body and be my old athletic self, I have to behave and save it for another day. While I do think it's ok to push the pace here and there, I need to listen to my body and maybe not push the pace on a day when I also have lots of work and stress to deal with or at least balance out the push-days with some leisurely recovery days. Hey, that's what you're supposed to do even when you're not pregnant! How funny that sometimes these basic principles become revelations in a different context.

So the question is do peanut and I hit the trail for a third day in a row to enjoy this beautiful sun and possibly run 6 says this week or do we enjoy the sun in another venue while I rest my pregnant body from running?

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Lessons from Chelsea

I am so saddened by the story of the high school cross-country runner who recently went missing while out on a run in a San Diego park. Apparently, her body has been found and police believe she was raped and murdered while out doing something she loved. My heart goes out to her family and friends. Such a sad sad thing.

It is such a shame that women have to be fearful of running outside alone. It makes me so angry that there are such horrible people out there preying on others. I try not to be afraid of doing something I love, but how can I not be after hearing horrible stories like this one. The one thing that helps a teeny-tiny bit is that maybe there is something we women runners can learn from what happened to Chelsea King. I am very curious how the predator who did this to her operated so we can avoid something similar happening to us.

In the meantime, we can try to practice the usual safety precautions when we're out there alone:

- switching up our routes
- switching up the times we run
- running when others we know are also running at the same park
- running during times when the park is heavily populated
- not wearing headphones and otherwise staying alert
- trusting our instincts
- running on trails where we know how to quickly get out into the open if we need to
- notifying others where we'll be and how long we expect to be gone
- carrying a charged cell phone
- carrying a whistle or pepper spray

But if someone is a real predator and really wants to take out a female runner, is there anything we can do to protect ourselves short of not running alone outside at all?

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Not Everyone's a Critic Like Me

I love to argue. That's why I became a lawyer. I love a healthy debate. I love trying on other people's viewpoints and arguing the other side. I am mostly politically liberal, but I love listening to Rush Limbaugh. This quality is one reason I like to blog. I like to put something out there and see what others have to say and I like to read what others have to say and then throw in my own two cents and see where the conversation goes.

You can ask mrp, or my sister, or my friends. That's just me and usually it works for me. They will all also tell you that this trait sometimes gets me into trouble. I often get a little too comfortably doling out my opinion and sometimes I come off as a preachy know-it-all or worse, a complete and total jerk. I really want to understand other people and I really try to relate, especially to people I seemingly shouldn't be able to relate to. I am very curious and like I said, I think sharing viewpoints and even arguing is fun. Apparently, this is weird :) Luckily, mrp thinks it's cute.

I like arguing and being curious, but I don't like over-stepping and I don't like it when I sometimes take on a role in my relationships where I am always the critic. I've particularly noticed this when I'm concerned about the other person or emotionally invested. This has happened a lot in my relationship with my sister. I've had to work hard in my relationship with my sister to offer my viewpoint so as not to be judgmental, but rather provide an opening for dialogue. It's happened from time-to-time with friends too. It's something I would like to be better about. I think I can be curious and share my viewpoint without being argumentative or preachy.

I promised I'd get back to talking about running. This trait is one reason I love running. There are so many theories about optimal training it's fun to debate them, especially because I am relatively new to the world of running. Arguing, besides being fun for me, also helps me learn about something and process how I truly feel about something or what the truth about something is to me. Debating training strategies with friends in real life and on the blog has helped me learn a lot about the topic!

Anyway, I just was thinking about this after I felt like I might be stepping into that too-critical role with a friend and I wanted to sort it out a little and also share this tidbit about myself in case you ever find yourself wondering why I'm such a contrarian.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Streaks

I just put peanut down for his morning nap. As he nursed I realized that I have nursed him every day for the past 15-plus months. In fact, I have nursed him every single day he's been in the world! I felt very proud of the accomplishment, which is something I've needed after a few months of a strained relationship with breastfeeding.

I am very much a pro-breastfeeding kind of person. (I am by no means a militant breastfeeding advocate, but I do encourage anyone who can to give it a try. But, at the end of the day it is important to me that I breastfeed my own kids and I am not judgey about people who don't. Life is too complicated for that). I espouse the notion of baby led weaning (even though at times I was sure x was going to be the absolute drop dead last day for nursing, I always fell back on this belief). It's been extra hard to follow this principal once I found out I was pregnant while in the full swing of my nursing relationship with peanut.

I'm not going to lie. It has been very physically uncomfortable and occasionally downright painful since I've been pregnant with #2. However, since we weaned peanut at night and are down to two to three nursing sessions max every day it has been much more tolerable and at times pleasant again. I feel bad sometimes, though. Like maybe we are short-changing peanut. If I wasn't pregnant I think we could still have our afternoon non-bedtime nursing\cuddle session on the recliner or the wake-up and snuggle session like we used to. But, I really needed to pare down the sessions for my own sanity. So, we're down to nursing before naps (when I'm home) and before bedtime. The thing that really helps me keep it up is that he doesn't NEED to nurse. It's always optional. He will go to bed without it if he's with mrp or a grandparent or babysitter. I have my full freedom back, but we still nurse. So, it's a win-win really.

I'm not sure what's going to happen when #2 arrives. I am not afraid of becoming the crazy hippy lady who tandem nurses anymore, but I am open to the idea that it may or may not be unworkable. #2 will certainly have top priority so we'll just have to see if peanut can handle sharing. If not, so be it. We will have had a nice long nursing relationship by then and I will hopefully not feel too guilty about it ending before it might otherwise have ended. (Oh, excuse me. Peanut would like to add the following: "yeah, if it weren't for that pesky sister coming along and spoiling everything!")

Heh. It's easy to think that the arrival of #2 will be a a negative in peanut's mind, but I really believe that it will bring out the best in him and he will be as loving a big brother as any toddler can be, even if he has to share or give up his boobs for it!

Anyway, sorry to all my non-parent readers out there. We'll be back to our regularly scheduled non-boob-related topics next post :)