Thursday, April 29, 2010

On Her Way

Suddenly mrp and I are having a baby! I had my now bi-weekly midwife appointment yesterday and she said to not be surprised to have #2 even earlier than I had peanut. I had peanut a week early. At almost 32 weeks that means we need to be ready for a newborn within the next 6 weeks. 6 weeks is no time! And we have a lot to do!

#2 also feels massive all of a sudden. Her feet kick my diaphragm and make it hard to breathe. The pressure on my stomach makes me not want to eat anything (don't worry I still manage somehow). Strangely, running still feels good. It's hard to get myself out there to do it with wrapping up my teaching responsibilities, catching up with my other work, my crazy little dude peanut and everything else. But when I do go I feel good.

I am still gunning to run a few miles with my sister at the end of her first marathon (coming up on May 16)! I feel like that should be doable as long as I can maintain 4 days a week of running, especially if I can get in one run 6 miles or longer in there. On most days, I am much more content with 4 milers. I was doing 5, but 4 feels like plenty now. I may even allow myself some 3-milers or to mix in more walking as needed. So far, don't feel the need to walk, so that's good! I am hoping to run the last 10k with my sister if I can coordinate the logistics and hitch a ride to that part of the course.

I can't tell you how excited I am for my sister! Not only because I've been coaching her and already we've seen amazing improvements in her running, but because she was never believed she was athletic and she is proving her old self so wrong. I love helping formerly unathletic people find their inner athlete and there's nothing better than doing this for someone I love so much! There are so many women in particular that were never taught how important physical strength and endurance is to being a happy well-rounded person. I truly believe that tapping into the physical potential within ourselves is necessary to achieving our best in life in general. Hmm. I'll have to write more about this concept later!

In the meantime, I have tons of work to do and a babysitter so I might as well make the most of it and get it done so we can start focusing on this baby!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

10 Miles at 31 Weeks and a New (to us) Car!

The 10 miles went swell! It was pretty much perfect weather for a longer race in April along Lake Erie. There was a little wind, but relative to what it could be and to what it was last year (80+, humid and super-windy), the slightly breezy 50's and light intermittent sprinkles felt perfect.

I also had the perfect outfit. Thanks to Carmen, I had a maternity running tank to wear. After weeks, if not months of tugging my tops down as they ride over my belly it is such an amazing thing to have a running top that actually fits! I wore that with my maternity running skirt and Brooks Ravenna (great light-weight stability trainers!) I wasn't about to try to squeeze the belly into my Brooks uniform. I actually don't think I could right now! I'm up 35 lbs and although you can't tell from this photo, the belly is pretty freakin' enormous!

But I actually feel pretty good all things considered. I met up with my buds GP and E to carpool over. E is recovering from her stellar run at Boston just a few days ago and wanted to jog a few miles so she started with me. We were in no hurry to get to the starting line so we ended up WAY in the back. It took us two minutes to get to the line! It was good though. It kept us behaving ourselves and we had fun with it. E decided she'd be my blocker and announce there was a pregnant lady coming through any time we got boxed in. It was silly and fun! I only loosely watched our splits. I think we were something like 9:30 for mile one and then settled into right around 9:00 pace or a hair under after that.

Around mile three we passed a group of girls who recognized me from XC camp last summer. They were super cute and it was fun catching up with them. I felt so flattered they remembered me, especially since they weren't even in my group! E and I continued on and had fun cheering for the lead runners coming back in the opposite direction.

I saw my good friend monicaonthego was up a ways ahead and there was a couple with a BOB that E really wanted me to beat, so I kind of put it in my head to a) try to catch up and run with monica and b) definitely get the BOB people! Not because I felt like being competitive, but for something to do once E left me at mile 7.

We passed the half-way point averaging just a hair over 9:00 pace. This pace felt good. I was conversating away, no problem. E was getting tired and didn't want to overdo it on her mega-recovery week so she left me right around mile 7 and 1:03:05 into the race (maybe someday I can do the whole 10 in that time. That would be nice!) I felt pretty good so I picked it up a bit. I finally caught monica around 8.5 and ran with her until 9:00. Her knees were bugging her so she decided not to come with me as I hammered (heh) my way to the finish. It felt good to open up the stride and move my big self. I didn't feel very tired or anything. I felt good and it was fun to pick off person after person. I passed the BOB couple with about 1k to go. As I ran down the last straight-away to the finish, E, GP and BH were hootin' and hollarin' as I ambled my way along. And then I saw a bunch of my old friends from work, which was really nice too.

I didn't really care what time I finished with. I have no idea what I run on most days and I have definitely felt lately like I am getting WAY slower as the days go by. I thought I could run 90 minutes comfortably on a good day, so I was pleased to come in with a 1:27:28. I must have been cookin' (relatively) over those last three miles. I managed to get my average pace down to 8:24 for the last 5 miles after running the first two of those miles at 9:00 pace. More than anything I am so happy that it was so fun and it felt so good!

I love my friends for helping me by making running fun even as I plod along these days. I've had a rough couple of weeks and needed to recharge with a fun morning!

Afterwards, I still had enough energy to survive car shopping. Mrp and I are now proud owners of a Honda Pilot! Mrp ended up really gunning for a super nice 2008 model. It was a lease and very well taken care of. It has lots of bells and whistles and it seriously the nicest car I have ever owned.* I feel so fancy driving it! The only totally weird thing is that it has the dvd player in it. I always swore I would NEVER have that, but the car was so nice it seemed silly to pass on it because of that. I guess it will come in handy if we take road trips a couple years down the line, or if mrp and I feel like going on a date to the drive-in but can't get a babysitter! Hey. You never know.

*I might be a lawyer, but you would never know it based on the cars I drive! In fact, when the car sales dude looked at my current car (a 2003 Jetta) he laughed at it (needless to say we didn't trade it in). Sure it has well over 100,000 miles and sure you can tell I've more or less lived in the thing for 7 years, but I LOVE that car! It was my first and only new car ever and it has tons of sentimental value. In fact, I'd drive it for another 100k if we could all fit into it!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Reaching for the Sky

I haven't been a very prolific blogger lately, nor have I been a prolific runner. After falling down on Saturday I was sore on Sunday so I bagged my running plans that day. I was fine by Monday, but have only managed to get out twice this week so far.

At 31 weeks, my energy levels are dropping off dramatically! It's amazing how pregnancy can change in the blink of an eye. I felt really good running on Wednesday so I hope that carries through today to the 10-miler I have on tap. I'm headed out as soon as I finish this pb&j I'm eating. The weather is perfect and tons of my friends will be there. I'm looking very forward to it! I'll be happy just to finish too. No plans of pushing myself beyond what feels good today.

I look kind of hilarious. After my early ass-spread I am now more like a sky-scraper, growing straight out. Everyday, I have less and less clearance around the furniture and into the car and to hold peanut on my lap. Fun times!

Ok. I'll be back later and let you know how the race goes! Have a great day!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

One Bad Run

The weather was so gloomy and so was my mood. I should have seen it coming. I put peanut down for his early nap and hopped in my car for a run by myself on the trails. There's something a little off feeling about being 7 months pregnant and running alone in the woods. I love the trails and I love running alone sometimes, so that's why I do it. But all those things they tell you about why this might be a bad idea seemed to come to pass in one run.

I peed before I hit the trails, but of course before I even made it two miles I couldn't hold the new pee that had accumulated in my smooshed bladder. So, I deviated from my bridle path route to a part of the trail that was a little more secluded to pee. I was just finishing when I got "caught" by a young woman, thank goodness. But still I felt dumb. I was stewing about that when I was ambling along and all of a sudden my toes jammed into a root and like out of a bad movie I slow-mo'ed my way down down down into the dirt. I was low to the ground so I more slid across the roots and dirt and less fell. I scraped just below my knee, my hip and my shoulder and I did a number on my right pinky finger.

Of course I didn't give a sh*t about that. I could only think of #2 and what a selfish horrible person I was for being out there and risking something like that. I felt like the biggest idiot. I had no idea what to do. I got up, brushed myself off and just stood there bewildered for a few minutes. My intuition told me #2 was fine. My belly bore no brunt of the fall and like I said it was less of a jarring thing and more of a sliding thing so there wasn't a lot of baby shaking going on. I know my body is meant to protect her and I trust that. I also trust that my body would tell me if something wasn't right. Just in case I gave my belly a little poke and it poked back so I felt a tiny bit relieved. I decided to stay on the smooth bridle path and to be more alert the rest of the way and continued on. I also stopped at the restroom the next time I had to pee.

About three miles later I had almost forgiven myself when I spotted a golden retriever type thing ambling along the path. Then I saw his presumed owner about 50 feet ahead. I like dogs, but I am not a big fan of dogs off their leash at the park. I've seen dogs jump up on and even bite people as they have run by. Nice dogs too. I always approach unleashed or poorly leashed dogs with extreme caution. As I got even closer I noticed another dog a ways ahead of the man. At first I thought it was attached to another person coming in the opposite direction but as I got closer I realized that it was a pit bull, it was unleashed and it belonged to this guy too.

I am deathly afraid of pit bulls. Encountering an unleashed pit bull on a run is one of my nightmare scenarios. Seriously.

As soon as I made this realization I calmly asked the man to leash his dogs. "They won't bother you he said." No sooner did he start to speak when the pit bull turned and looked at me and charged directly at me. DIRECTLY AT ME. I was petrified. Shocked. Terrified. I stood still and repeated "I do not like this. Please put it on a leash." I am so afraid that a dog will sense I'm afraid and attack me. My adrenaline kicked in and kept me calm enough, I guess. I just stood still and tried to keep my voice calm but my directions precise. The man grabbed both of his dogs. Douche never did put the leash on them. He did take them onto a different trail in a different direction. When he got a little bit away he turned back and asked if I was ok. I don't know if my terror showed or if maybe I looked like I had been a shipwreck with my leg wound and the dirt covering my right side. Who knows.

As soon as they were out of sight I broke down sobbing. Between the fall and the dog terror I felt so awful. I felt like these were signs that I was a selfish horrible mother and to be like other moms and go home and act like one--whatever the hell that means. I ran sobbing for about half a mile. I stopped crying, more because I felt like I looked like enough of a class A A-hole as it was that I didn't need to add blubbering fool to the mix. I trudged up castle hill. I ran under the trees over the last mile of my run praying none would snap in the wind and fall on me--would seem somewhat fitting after the rest of the morning's events.

I came home and told mrp about it all. I expected him to be upset with me, but he wasn't at all. He was very sympathetic. I think he understands.

Being a mother does not erase the woman under the title. Mothering requires a balancing of what's best for her children, but also what's best for the person who is the mother. On days like today when my beliefs are so soundly challenged I am faced with the choice of turning away from these beliefs towards whatever it is that I think society-at-large wants me to believe. My impulse was to run home and put my feet up and never run pregnant again!

As I type now, after a day of reflection, I am watching and feeling #2 play around in my belly. Instead of knee-jerking and going to the extreme of quitting running all together this pregnancy, I can use today's challenges to tailor my activities to be safer for my more clutsy very pregnant self--stay away from rooty trails or trails all together from now on. I can stick to the populated bike path where I am far less likely to trip and jerks are far less likely to let their pit bulls run wild. I can save my trail runs for runs with the group or my friends. It won't be long until I can leave #2 safely behind while I get my trail run on. But I don't have to give up what I love just yet just because of one bad run.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Stork

Phew! Things are finally starting to slow down here in Saltyland. I was already maxed out with work and peanut raising and the add in a family tragedy and I was way overwhelmed there for a week or so. But I just wrapped up my last class yesterday and all I have to do now for my class is finish writing the exam and grade 8 of them in a couple of weeks. I still have my contracting gig, but the 10 hours of work I have to do is nothing on its own, so without the teaching obligations hanging over my head every week it should be no big thing to get that done.

So now what? Now it's time to focus on this baby coming to our doorstep in two months. My midwife said second babies tend to come at the same point in pregnancy as first babies, so I guess we have just 9 weeks to go! Two months to two babies!

I'm still running along. I ran 10 miles with my sister last weekend. It was a perfect morning, weather-wise. We hit my favorite trails and I even made it all the way up the huge hill at the end while talking! She continued on for another 10--go Miss A! She's gearing up for her first marathon in just about 4 weeks. I cannot wait. My goal is to run the last few miles with her. I'll be 34 weeks pregnant. Last time I quit running then. Hopefully I can keep it going for 4 more weeks this time!

As for my racing plans, based on how well my 10 miler went last weekend I am probably going to run a 1o mile race in a week and a half. It just depends on the weather. If it's looking like it's going to be hot I'm going to pass. Me, running and hot weather don't mix so well these days. I ran just 4 yesterday while it was 82 and it felt way harder than the 10 I ran with my sister on a sunny 50-60 degree morning. It was one of those waddly runs and one of those runs where the lactic acid built up in my lower legs. Somedays I feel totally normal when I run and about once a week these days I feel like tweedle-dee. At least I'm still chugging along. I am certainly not complaining.

Besides all that mrp and I are beginning our final assault on our prepare-for-#2 to-do-list. The biggest thing on the list is to purchase a "family-size" vehicle. Currently we own one two-seat pick-up truck and one compact car. The three of us barely fit in the car so we definitely need to size-up to make room for #2. Of course, my big requirement is that the car has to fit the double-Bob so that I can just unfold it and go--I can fit it in the trunk of our current car but it requires removing the wheels and a little Tetris. For his part, mrp wants something that will help us transport our wares to market too. So, we need something on the big side. Mrp and I engaged in a no-minivan pact upon our marriage so vans are out. That leaves SUV's, wagons and cross-overs. We are so not fancy car people, so something simple and spacious. But not too big. Fuel-efficiency is another top requirement. I never ever thought I'd drive anything other than a simple compact car. This is weird!

Oh and Marathon Monday is upon us! Can't wait to track all 900 people I know running it this year. The weather looks perfect. The excitement is building. I have a couple of friends primed for big break outs (I'm looking at you, E and DC!) Almost makes me forget how miserable my Boston experience was and want to go back!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Grandpa Sings

Thanks to everyone for your kind words last week. It was a rough week, but it turned out to be a good week too. I spent so much time with my extended family and bonded with my cousins and aunts and uncles like I haven't in years. As different as we all are we all share a common love for my grandparents and it really showed.

I surprised myself in how free I felt with my emotions. I was worried that my grandfather's death would open up old wounds left in the wake of my father's death, but it really didn't. I guess that's what happens when you actually deal with grief. If anything, I felt very satisfied in knowing that I had a wonderful relationship with my grandfather and that peanut did too. We visited my grandparents almost every week for the last 9 months or so. He loved playing with his cane and riding on his motorized wheelchair. The most touching moment ever came one day after we had lunch at their house a few months back. My grandfather was very weak, but always insisted on letting peanut sit on his lap, usually for a cart ride. One thing he always said he wanted to do was read to peanut. So, I brought some books for my grandparents to keep at their house. Peanut got one of the books and started to come towards me with it as if he wanted me to read to him. Just as I was about to take the book from him peanut turned his head to my grandfather and then changed his mind and handed my grandfather the book. My grandfather had tears in his eyes--it made him so happy. How could I have any regrets after that?

Last night I had lots of dreams. The last one I remember was walking into my grandparents kitchen and I could hear my grandfather singing--he loved to sing! I could hear the song as if he was right there next to me. I know I won't always be able to recall his voice, but I can still remember how he sounded when he sang and when he said, "Hi Thaniel!" to peanut when he greeted him. Simple memories can be such a treasure!

Monday, April 05, 2010

Grandpa

My grandfather died last night. It wasn't a surprise. But still. These things are always so hard. In some ways it feels like a minor hurt after what I went through with my dad. But in other ways it feels huge because it dregs up what I went through with my dad.

I was very close with my grandfather. My mom was a teenager when she had me so she relied on her parents an awful lot for help raising my sister and me, especially after my dad died. Again, my grandfather's death is not something I haven't been anticipating, but no matter how much you try to prepare you just can't know how you will feel until it happens.

So far I just feel tired. I slept three hours last night. I was just too unsettled to sleep. I'd like to write more about what a great guy he was and stuff like that but I am just too tired and too swamped with trying to get ready for my class tomorrow in the middle of all this going on. I just need to get through tomorrow morning and I can deal with this better.

Friday, April 02, 2010

A Guide to Dressing your Obese Gorilla

* All right. I've HAD it with all of my running clothes. I feel like an obese gorilla in every article of warm-weather running clothes I own. When it was still cold, I gave up on my own shirts that rode up over my belly in favor of mrp's shirts. That was working ok, although I felt like I was wearing a muumuu over tights most days. Whatever. It was more comfortable than a smaller shirt bunched up halfway over my belly.

Now it's warm and since I'm gargantuan, none of my lighter clothes fit at all. Last pregnancy I only ever wore my warm-weather gear and I think I just sort of dealt with the problems that are driving me crazy now (actually, I think the novelty of pregnancy was alive and well and convinced me I was adorable with my chub rub and belly bouncing out from under my shirts. This time, not so much.) Anyway, last pregnancy I bought two huge singlets and used safety pins to make darts at the boobs. They already feel too short (I actually think I might have shrunk them last pregnancy when I kept sending them to the gym laundry because I was too lazy to rinse them at home). I feel my belly hanging out when I wear them. I also bought a maternity running skirt, which is the only light bottom I can wear without feeling really awful (just a little awful). All my shorts feel horrible. My legs and butt feel so fat and that feeling is exacerbated by the shorts. I do prefer short shorts when I'm not a tub, so that's probably a lot of the problem right there! I need some granny shorts, I guess.

I'm thinking of hitting up Target and buying some more gigantic singlets and maybe some longer shorts. Maybe that will help. Other than that, anyone have any ideas? Is it pathetic that some days I consider not running because I feel so gross in my clothes?!

* Mrp took a picture of me this evening playing around with peanut post run. Notice the cankles in full effect! I had my first swelling of this pregnancy. It was 84 degrees and we took a long drive. I went to the park immediately after we returned and the funny thing about a mile into the run I had to relace my shoes because the swelling went down and my feet were sliding all over in them!