Thursday, May 28, 2015

Half marathon logistics

I ran 7 miles the other day (good job, self!) and it got me thinking about my plans for fall races. My local running club's Grand Prix has a 10 mile race included in it, so we need to be in 10-miler shape by October. Being in shape for that race would support a decent half marathon as well, but that's where things get tricky.

D likes to eat. A lot. Like, he would eat every 30 minutes if he could. I am not pumping or bottle feeding at all, I don't even own a pump (because my insurance company was disorganized, and then I had a baby and stopped caring). So, keeping D happy for more an hour is tricky. My 7 mile run the other day was at the very top end of how long he can usually be without me. That means, unless things drastically change, it would be really hard to train for a decent half because my longest run wouldn't be long enough. Lame. I could do a 10 miler on a 7 mile long run, but not 13.1.

Also, the fussiness with this baby is still off the charts. It's really hard to take him places, so driving (car rides are hell) to a race, rushing to feed him and then leaving him (time without me is hell) for 2 hours just doesn't sound like fun. He'll be eating solids in the fall, but it'll still be tricky. This is all assuming he doesn't suddenly turn into a super happy baby between now and then, but I have to assume he'll be the same kid for the foreseeable future.

How do other moms do it? Do I have to pump to be able to get any longer runs in? That doesn't seem like fun. I'm not itching to do a half, necessarily, but it could be fun, and it would provide some structure to my training. I need structure in a world where some naps are 10 minutes and some are 2 hours (!?!?!).

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Positive things about having a baby who hates the car

Let's look on the bright side!

- Save money!
If I left the house every day, I might do things like buy coffee or lunch. We might eat dinner out. Who wants to throw money away on those silly things? Be a homebody, save some cash.

-Increase creativity
When your only playmate is a 3 month old, you have to get creative. Turns out, I can make a song out of pretty much everything. We sing songs about laundry, changing diapers, eating cereal. I have time to figure out how to shoehorn Game of Thrones gifs into a post about staying home with my baby. So creative over here!

The title of this gif is "sad Jon Snow" and it has no relevance to this point. I just love the simple description. 

-Reduce germ exposure
We haven't had an illness yet. 15 weeks and going strong! I know I'm jinxing myself, and it's not like he doesn't get any exposure to weird stuff. The dog licks his face, he's getting all sorts of immunity. He's just not getting nasty strangers-touching-his-face germs. Why do strangers think they should touch your baby? Weird.

-Really, really keep up to date on Facebook
This is negative, because it turns out I really don't want to be more into Facebook. Most people are not that interesting, but I still find myself reading their inane posts. I can throw stones because I rarely post on Facebook, so I'm not one of them. I'm special. And judgey.

True dat. 

-Reduce wear and tear on car
My car's oil change light has been on, not exaggerating, since before D was born. Since I don't drive that many miles, it's still in the "get an oil change sometime soonish" range, not in the danger zone. Putting off that annoying task pleases me.

Sadly, this is not titled "happy Jon Snow," but they can't all be winners.

-No need for real clothes!
The baby and I can wear pajamas all day and no one is the wiser. Except when I have to protect the mail delivery lady from Kiwi and I can feel her judging eyes on my bedhead at 2pm.

You and me both, Arya.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Staying sane as a SAHM

I'm still pretty new to this, but in order to keep myself functioning as an adult, especially with a little person who doesn't like to drive far (and we live somewhere that's pretty isolated. Everything necessitates a 30+ minute drive), I've come up with some things that help keep me happy.

Or sing, or paint, or go on forums. Stay in touch with the outside world. I thought I was a Facebook addict before, but I am even more so now. There's tons of groups for advice or commiseration. It has been so important for me to have a creative outlet as well as a connection with the world.

-Go for a walk
It's easy. The baby will like it. You'll both get Vitamin D (low D is correlated with some mood disorders), fresh air, exercise. If you're lucky, a neighbor will be outside and you can talk to another adult. Walks are the best.

-Make coffee
Or tea, or fancy waffles. Make real lunch instead of eating a piece of bread, followed by lettuce (not a salad, just lettuce) and a spoonful of peanut butter... not that I've ever done that... Just because you're alone(ish) doesn't mean you need to eat super sad meals. The first time I made coffee for myself I was so damn proud. It felt like I was doing something special just for me. We have an Aeropress so it takes time and is more involved than a K cup and hitting "brew." I think that adds to the specialness.

-Find somewhere close to visit
I recently met up with a friend at a coffee shop 6 miles (!!!!) from my house. This is a huge deal because I live in the middle of nowhere. The coffee was good, the employees were nice. This is somewhere I can go when I'm 100% stir crazy. Someone else can make lunch for me, maybe I'll get a conversation.

-Find your people
I'm still working on this one. I'm not the most socially confident person, so finding people that I mesh with has been tricky. I've actually gone to multiple social events trying to find moms I like. I'm not there yet, but I have hope.

-Enjoy your baby
This might sound like the most obvious thing, but some days it is hard to enjoy all the moments of the day. Some of those moments won't ever really be enjoyable, but if I'm having a particularly hard time, I take a minute to just stare at D, soak up the whole "miracle of life" thing, and reset. Babies are ridiculously cool. They're amazing little sponges and if all else fails, they're super soft. I put my face on his tummy, breathe, and hug that baby. I'm pretty important to this little guy, and what I'm doing matters.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Identity crisis

I am  a SAHM (=stay at home mom, if you're not down with the lingo).

This is weird to me. I spent my childhood working toward academic success, which would, in my young mind, be followed by a good job and financial success. Because that's how the world works. I grew up incredibly anxious about money (I was an anxious kid) and at some point I decided that if I didn't get a full college scholarship, I'd never go to college. Then I'd never get a job and I'd be a failure. Such healthy thoughts for a 4th grader. I basically achieved my goals. The last 5 years I've been living a pretty good life. I had a good job as a chemist. Generous benefits and vacation. Not a physically stressful job. It was ideal in a lot of ways.

Then, D came along. Nick and I discussed what we'd do when the baby arrived. I longed to be a SAHM but my childhood anxiety about achieving financial comfort still lingered, plus the added feeling of somehow "wasting" my college education. Because I'd be wasting it by spending time shaping the tiny mind we'd created? I haven't read "Lean In," but I've read enough articles about it to know that young women can have it all! We can balance family and career!

When it came time to pull the trigger and decide to be a SAHM, I still had trouble. Why? I didn't like my job all that much, and I really, really like my baby, so it should have been an easy decision, right? But in my mind, by leaving my job, I was leaving more than just a paycheck. I was leaving the definition I'd had for myself since graduating college. I was someone who worked (except when funemployed), damnit! I was a productive member of society! And now, I'd just be a mom. Would I still be interesting? Would I still have things to talk to Nick about? Would I feel trapped at home? So many things to worry about. So many conflicting feelings.

In the end, I decided to stay home. I'm toying with some other part-time employment options, as well as exploring going back to school for nursing. I still feel an itch to "do something" which is nonsense, because I'm nurturing a very chubby, very happy baby right now. That's doing something. 

How have I never done a Liz Lemon themed post? Terrible oversight on my part. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

2015 RVRS 5K Race Report

Another weekend, another 5K. As part of my running goals for this summer, we've been racing more frequently. It's fun! This 5K fit in our schedule, and we also had childcare (my awesome dad) available. I wasn't worried about the actual size/quality of the race until we got there and saw it was teeny. So, so small. I think maybe 40 runners? Or even less. It was small enough I was slightly worried I wouldn't have anyone to help me pace. I resolved to just do my best and try to run faster than my last race (24:45ish). 

You and me both, Dubya. Except maybe I accomplished mine a little more.  

My dad took this photo while holding a baby. Ultimate multitasking. 

7:27, 7:49, 7:37, 6:43 for the nubbin. 23:33. 1st place female. 
D was pretty pleased with my time.

I am pleased with my splits. I dragged in the middle, yes, but I managed to pull it out at the end. Go me. I think if I'd had a few more people around to help drag me in, I'd have run a bit faster. This time is similar to the end of 2012, when I was in 4 hour marathon shape. Obviously I don't have the endurance back yet, but I have some (for me) speediness. My goal of being sub-23 by the end of the summer is totally feasible. I'm pumped. 

I fueled for this race with a ridiculously cheesy pizza and a couple beers the night before. I had a banana, a gel, and coffee before the race. Breakfast of champions. I also decided to be slightly responsible and warm up before the race! That's new. I ran for a few minutes and did 2 strides so my legs knew what fast felt like. Did it help? Probably not as much as the huge amount of caffeine I consumed (gel had caffeine too + coffee. Yikes), but it got my blood flowing.

My plan of attack for the next couple months remains the same, since clearly something is working (or... I'm just losing a few pounds and running semi-frequently). I'll do "speedwork" at least once a week, get in a longish (6 mile) run at least once a week, and include 1 day of HIIT to get my cardiovascular system in better shape. My 5K PR is 22:24. It's a big leap to go from 23some to 22some, but I am optimistic. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

3 months post-partum

I think I'll stop doing these updates because at this point, the only exciting new thing that's happening for me, body-wise, is my hair is falling out. It is "supposed" to start falling out about 3 months after delivery, and it sure has. Every time I brush my hair way from my face I come back with a couple hairs. Farewell, thick, glorious pregnancy hair.

I miss that belly. 

As far as workouts go, I'm getting into a decent groove. I do something almost every day, either a real live workout or a walk with the baby and dog.  I have my mom and Nick (and Graco, the makers of our swing) to thank for that. I couldn't possibly have that much me time without their support. They're the best. 

I finally look forward to running. When I was overdoing it, I would dread almost every run. I'd have a workout hanging over my head each day, instead of getting excited for it. Now, whether it's because it's the only time I spend without a baby strapped to me, or because I'm fueling my body properly and treating it well, I really savor my running time. I might not savor every minute of it, but I look forward to getting outside, blasting music, and moving my body. I feel like I should have a shirt made or something, this is such a big deal to me. I thought I actually hated running, just love the calorie burn and endorphins. It is a relief to know I'm not 100% lazy at my core. 

When do I stop being a "new mom?" Three months out, and life seems fairly under control. Not that we've figured out the key to D's happiness. He is still a puzzle that can't always be solved, but we have at least figured out the nuts and bolts of daily life with him. I can leave the house with about 30 minutes of prep time instead of needing an hour or more. I'm pretty much a superhero.

I miss pregnancy for some completely selfish reasons. During pregnancy, it was all about me (I feel like a tool typing that... but it's honest). Now, I feel like I've disappeared. We were hiking the other day with D and someone said "Oh what a beautiful family!" I said that they really just meant D and Kiwi, and Nick joked, "yeah, we were beautiful before we had them!" That's how I feel. I am so happy to have this gorgeous baby, but I'm still here, holding him. I guess I'm still adjusting to the whole motherhood thing. I would do anything for D, and that includes letting him be the focus of attention in every room. He deserves it. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

We've known you for 3 months!

This month continued to be a challenging one for us. So much intensity in your tiny body. Intense cries, intense smiles. You started smiling at strangers, which is cute. And worrisome. Don't run off with a stranger, D. 
Whatever, mom. I've got this.

Sleep smiling
Sleeping on me at a wine festival. Get used to it, kiddo

You practically own that chair.

Crappy picture, perfect face.

You are so bright eyed and inquisitive. You grab our shirts and pinch us now, which is... cool? It is so neat to see you develop new skills every day! You also hold onto us like a little monkey, wrapping your short little arms around our shoulders. You become more of a little person all the time. 

You grew into your "3-6" month clothing this month, meaning you've outgrown 2 sets of clothing in 3 months. That is nuts. You're round enough that some of the new stuff doesn't quite fit! That's my boy. I love each and every one of your chins and your sweet round belly. 

Your quest for your thumb continues! You still find your hand randomly, and now you put it up to your face. I am rooting for you to find your thumb so maybe you'll get a little self-soothing action happening.  
One time, you slept in the car. It was such a big deal, it required a picture.
One time, you slept in the swing (I know he's not strapped in. He was fine.) This was also such a big deal it required a picture. You are able to nap when not in direct contact with my body!

Sitting up like a little man!

Grasping your toys. You're basically an adult already.

You got to meet your other Grandma this month. She loves you so much! You were remarkably relaxed the whole time she was here. That was awesome so you two could have a nice visit.

We tried to go on our first road trip this month. Nick has another week of parental leave and he took it this week so we could spend time together as our new little family. The road trip was... not successful. You just hate the car so much. I hope you grow out of that soon, or we can find a way to make you more comfortable. It's hard not being able to go places further than 40 minutes away.

The days are becoming more and more fun with you as you become more interactive. You like some of my songs, you do not like others. You also like just being carried around the house as I narrate my day for you, which is good, because mommy's staying home with you. Am I going to be able to stimulate you enough, but not too much? Get you out of the house to be social (only if this car hatred lessens some...)? Help you grow to your full potential? I worry. I want to be enough for you.

I mentioned earlier this month that things are hard, and they are. But those moments when you are heavy and relaxed against my body, or when you smile big and bright during your morning diaper change (sometimes at 6 am. Why won't you sleep in, sweet boy?) make my heart overflow with happiness. You are such a wonderful part of our lives.

Likes: your thumb, parental dancing, being carried
Dislikes: the car, tummy issues, being cold after taking a bath

Monday, May 4, 2015

New mom running goals

With my tiny life addition and my body changes related to that new addition, I've been trying to come up with reasonable goals for running. My previous goals (Boston or bust!) are on hold while I prioritize the little guy. But that doesn't mean I can't have some smaller things to shoot for.

This basically boils down to running every single time I have a chance. If that's during a morning nap that only lasts 20 minutes, so be it. If it's 2 days back to back, fine. I don't want to get caught in a "but... baby!" cycle day after day and miss opportunities to run.

Run outside
I like the treadmill. There's no shame in that. I ran a 3:38 marathon with a fair amount of treadmill running. But right now, since the number of miles I'm running won't be as high as I'd like, I need those miles to be quality. Running outside is better for one million reasons. I will benefit more from an outside run than an inside run, so I will do my best to get outside every run. Except if it's raining. See? I am already making excuses. I just love the treadmill so much.

Try some speedwork
See above. Since I might not be running as frequently as I'd like, I need to get some quality runs in when I can. I have been really inconsistent with speedwork for the last several years, opting instead to jam in as many calorie burning miles as possible, so any amount of speedwork will hopefully pay off with improved speed. Duh.

Fix my awful posture
Wherefore art thou, neck? Also, arm swing. Also, heel strike. Ugh.

Holding a baby, having suddenly enormous boobs, and sleeping funny are all adversely effecting my posture, which was already kind of awful. I have never really looked like a runner when I run, I tend to plod instead of cruise. I am pretty sure I'll always look like I'm having a hard time, but at least I can relax my shoulders, control my arms, and improve my alignment so I can run a bit more efficiently. I'm also going to focus on my cadence, which suffers when I'm tired (see graph below from my Garmin. That gradual decrease in steps per minute is no bueno)

Get out of the house everyday
This whole stay at home mom thing can be so isolating, and although I'm not sitting most of the day (see also: baby who needs constant motion), I'm not really active either. Daily walks are good for vitamin D and Kiwi's health, and keep us all from being stir crazy. Carrying 15 lbs. while walking is also good for an extra cardio boost.

Race more
You get better at racing by racing more. Duh, again. I am out of practice with racing and pacing, as evidenced by my recent 5k(s), so more races will = better races.

and my #1 goal:
Sub-23 minute 5k
This means >2 minutes off my current time (25 min) before the end of the 5k season. That's ~40 seconds per mile (<7:23 pace), which, yes, is a ton, but goals are goals for a reason. I have no idea if this is attainable, but I like to think with some increased time on my feet, speedwork, and losing a bit more baby weight it is totally doable.