Monday, December 28, 2009

12 days of Christmas? I'm ok with 3, thanks.

I love my family, really do, so all I'll say regarding the topics "Family" and "Holidays" is thank God I got out for a couple of runs last week.

My running is still in maintenance mode but I'll take whatever I can get just to get out the door. What was great this past month is that I was able to resume my pseudo-annual tradition* of getting out for a jaunt on Thanksgiving and Christmas. The traffic's lighter, the air is crisp and cool, and it seems there is a heightened sense of camaraderie with the other runners out on the sidewalks and trails. Each time you pass a fellow runner, there's an exchange of knowing nods, as if to say, "we could be stuffing our faces with gravy-slathered proteins and multiple varieties of pies right now, but we are running instead (or so that we can commence with the face-stuffing later.)"

*when not experiencing first-trimester funsies like gagging at everything or needing to sleep 14 hours a day.

This year, getting out for my Christmas run was especially appreciated. It was a chance to step away from the awkwardness of my blunt, inappropriate family conversing with my husband's reserved, overly-polite family. The baby - the universal buffer for uncomfortable family situations - was sleeping, and I was in no mood to deal with the carnage of wrapping paper and ribbon barfed up all over my living room floor. The men would watch their Celtics game, the women would discuss safe topics such as cooking or after-Christmas sales, and I would get my run. Even if it was only 5 miles, run a bit too hard for the hills and the fact that my feet hadn't seen actual pavement for several days, it was a much-needed reprieve.

Of course, my mother thinks I'm nuts and that I'm addicted to exercise. But I think, by nature, she has to be worried about someone. That, or she just enjoyed me more when I was large and raiding her cabinet for cookies.

Well for the holidays, I did eat those cookies, but I ran them off, too. With the calories, I burned stress, anxiety, frustration, and every other negative emotion that manifests from too much vomit-enducing tinsel and Barry Manilow.

Happy Holidays, everyone. Hope you enjoyed it and got some good runs in, too.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

if there were a REAL "Real Housewives" show and I were on it, my self-naration would sound much like this:

Husband dearest works out of town 3-5 days a week so that we can have lovely things like a house, heat, cars, internet, cell phones, and cable. I work 2-3 shifts a week so we can have extras, like the occassional shopping trip at Whole Foods instead of the "regular" super market, nice bottles of Ripasso or Bordeaux, and meals not horribly botched by me trying to play "Top Chef" on my electric range.

I am eternally grateful for these amenities and know how incredibly lucky we are - especially this time of year - to have what much of young America, I'm sure, takes for granted. Our generations' hardships may only include having to watch Sesame Street on a dinky little 10" black and white TV and being forced to wear clothes from Caldor when the family budget was tight, but that's still a far cry from the things kids today wouldn't know how to live without: Hulu, PS2's, and 3G networks. God, I even find myself bitching when a certain channel doesn't come in in HD, because it's all blurry on our giant TV. So I'm really not much better than those spoiled brats, am I?

So considering the things we're now accustomed to having as part of our daily lives, it's no wonder that when my laptop is busted, the cable goes out during a storm and the baby's asleep, I'm so painfully bored I start picking away at still relatively in-tact nailpolish just to have an excuse to paint my nails again. Or I start scribbling what I think are witty thoughts and observations on one of the million of cards you mail in for a subscription that fall out of the magazine you've already subscribed to -- but I'm using this scrap of paper as a bookmark in a crappy book that I'm forcing myself to finish because I borrowed it from the library and damn it I'm going to become more literate and intellectual if it kills me, but once I'm done with the book I forget about the ramblings I've written down and throw the card away. Or I start watching so many recorded episodes of "The Office" I start dreaming about being in a screaming match with Dwight and Michael.

This is where someone interjects, saying, "Yes, but, if you're bored, then you're boring." Well, that's okay, because I actually feel pretty damn boring.

I mean, all I have to talk about is being a mom, running, and... uh, that's about it. There's only so much to discuss (or write) about the variety of poo consistencies and colors, how many planned runs you didn't do and why you couldn't do them, how thick to make your rice cereal and what to mix it with, and the ungodly amount of calories you're consuming while breastfeeding and - again - how many times you've failed to get out to burn them off...

... Hm? Sorry. I just put myself to sleep.

I just hope, as I go on and on and on about how sorry I am for myself (someone please play me out on the violin) someone is out there reading this thinking, "Thank God, I'm not alone!"

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

This one is (almost) in real-time, I swear.

Okay, it's 2:02 PM, the child is napping peacefully, and I am inspired to finally update this thing and try to keep it going. I figured of all the places I post my run-on ramblings, this is probably the one I should maintain should I get ambitious again and decide to actually save all of these entries to a thumbdrive and not Google's / Blogger's database.

Speaking of Google, has anyone tried Wave? I got an invite, took one look at it, and said, "Uh, no." The truth of the matter is: I'm unpopular. And I don't mean that in a "Guess I'll go eat worms..." kind of way, it's just that, I'm a stay-at-home mom (on the baby boards, we call ourselves SAHM's, because we're so busy between feedings, changings, and burpings, that we have created an accronym for everything.) for part of the week, and I work part-time for the rest. My friends are my coworkers, and besides our shifts together we don't see much of each other because they, too, have pressing obligations outside of work. Maybe I'll give Google Wave a little more time though before deciding whether it's worthwhile. Although I have a feeling it will have the same fate as my Twitter account: Floating off somewhere in cyberspace, user name and password long-forgotten.

Now that I've openned with that light-hearted but boring detail about my life, on to more depressing issues.

We lost another kitty this week.

We knew he was sick from the beginning, infected probably at birth with the feline leukemia virus. For the most part, these kittens, when found by or brought in to a shelter, are put down. We kept this kitten, and immunized the other two. He started showing signs of being ill not long after our Mia (who passed away early October) came down with pancreatitis. At first we were told it was allergies, and given an antihistamine that rendered him a useless lump of a cat. So we took him off of it and brought him back to the vet because his symptoms - coughing and wheezing - didn't subside. "Might be asthma," said the more optomistic of the two Dr's at the clinic. So we put him on a mild steroid and witnessed noticable improvement. But then he took a sudden downturn, losing weight, becoming listless once again, and developing an abscess on his rear. It turns out he had a blood parasite which, due to the virus, he couldn't fight off. We were going to take him this past Monday morning to be euthanized but he didn't even make it to crate.

I try not to be that downer who only looks at the negative events in her life, not only further depressing herself but everyone around her, but I'm not going to lie, it's tough. Having a child certainly helps me focus on the positive, but my heart aches for my kitties. Lord knows what a mess I'll be when my dogs reach that age. Ugh, see, that's what I mean. I hate when I start thinking like that.

Well the holidays are soon upon us and it will be time to take stock in the many blessings we still have. Holy crap, that sounded cheesier than a Hallmark card. Apologies.

But seriously, I'm determined to have a good Christmas. For starters, having this be my first Christmas with a kid is pretty exciting. I've never been one to ooh and aah over cute kiddy outfits but it's different if it's your own cute kid that you're outfitting. Second, having a child imediately absolves me of any cooking or hosting responsibilities, in my mind. I may string some lights and throw some Pillsbury biscuits in the oven. No one should count on me for much more than that. Third, my husband and I are actually in a position to hook our closest family and friends up with decent gifts this year. It will feel really good to give back, especially considering all the help we've received rennovating our home and babysitting our child.

So long as no more animals die and no one decides to tell me I need to make the Christmas ham, we'll be all good here.

the last of the missing blogs


I had this big plan to get started on a big, ambitious, training plan that would have me shattering my PR's in no time...

... it's so not happenin'.

Now that's not to say I haven't been running or working out semi-regularly. I have. I'm running, going to spin classes that whoop my butt, and doing intense cardiovascular efforts on the elliptical. I can whip out a 7-minute mile if I have to, although probably only one. But I'm sure I'm not the only first-time mom to discover that getting on a training schedule and actually finding time to stick to it are two completely different games.

Ah.. parenthood.

So I'm implementing a new plan. A very non-planish plan. It involves running whenever I can, breaking out the Baby Trend Expedition jogger that I found for a steal on Craigslist (Yesssss), and making the most of every effort, every time. My easy miles will surely be the ones with the child in tow. I'll do fartleks on the treadmill when crappy weather forces me indoors. And if the gym's nursery is closed AND there's a monsoon outside, I'll go old-school with some Burpees in my living room (after burping my daughter, so that she can sit in the swing and watch mommy get her Jane Fonda on).

Something about this new free-style approach to running appeals to me. I no longer feel any sense of anxiety when I head out the door without my ipod or my watch. I'm content to just run and I don't need a second hand or 90's alternative to distract me from the task at hand. I love my child and nothing in this world can replace the heady, blissful feeling of being a mom, but, I could sometimes do without the constant schlepping of diaper bags and cumbersome strollers. Running is my chance to do that.

So no more logging miles for me. Each day I run (when I can), I'll just try to do a little more than the time before. That's goal enough for me.

another lost entry


I had meant to write a couple weeks ago about my first run postpartum - an overly ambitious but exhilarating 4-miler that I felt for the next 3 days - but then life happened. Yet another lesson of motherhood.

First, after a glance at a checking account balance with a big fat negative sign in front of it, I headed back to work. Nothing like serving to use up the rest of the energy you don't having after taking care of a newborn and trying to squeeze in a few workouts a week. It's not all bad, however. The time outside of the house interacting with other adults is somewhat refreshing. It reminds me that I'm more than my daughter's milkmaid.

Next, came a surprise visit from friends. They had driven 14 hours to see me, when I had thought they wouldn't be able to visit until the spring. I certainly enjoyed the company, and they did their best to lend a hand with meals and watching my daughter so I could put my feet up (or down, as it were, for the occasional walk or jog). But when you're running off to your bedroom every 2 hours to feed an always-hungry child, the novelty of having company can wear out real quick! My friends stayed for just the right amount of time - 3 1/2 days - after which I was not only grateful to return to work after caring for an overstimulated baby, but happy just to have the house to myself (I enjoy peeing without worrying if the bathroom door is latched).

The most recent interruption to my blogging and running efforts was the saddest; the passing of one of our beloved furry family members, a cat named Mia. She was our "Sweet Kitty" (the other two are Dominc aka "Fatass" and Nico aka "A--hole"). She had struggled with what we thought was pancreatitis, only to suffer a sudden decline in health despite giving her antibiotics and changing her diet. It turns out she may have actually had pancreatic cancer. Not being able to afford kitty-chemo (and not having an guarantee that it would have helped), we sadly said goodbye to her yesterday.

All of this leaves me wishing I had spent more time cherishing the days I could just step out the door and go run. I'm perfectly fine with running taking a back seat until my child is in preschool, but I still wish I had enjoyed it more when I didn't have to think twice about hitting the pavement for a 7-miler. But now there are so many things to think about; is my daughter well-fed? Do I have enough milk thawed for the sitter? Have I given all the animals their meds (Mia was not our only health-challenged animal)? Should I put my daughter in a clean outfit? Is there enough clean laundry - somewhere - if she needs to be changed again?

I have to cherish the simple moments as they come now, and not let them slip by in my impatience to get out for a run. I just keep hoping that one or two jaunts a week will be enough for my legs to remember what to do when I am ready to go out a little bit more, a little bit faster, and with fewer worries on my mind.

too lazy to back-date my entries


While running is still out of the question this soon after my cesarean, I decided that once I hit the one-month mark I would have to go to the gym. For my body. For my sanity. So what do I do the morning of my much-anticipated return to regular workouts? Jam my pinky toe, causing it to do a split in a direction that toes just don't bend.

This, I considered, might be lesson #48 in learning to cope with the unexpected. You can keep yourself as fit and healthy as possible, but it won't guarantee an easy labor. You can psyche yourself up for your first hard workout in months, but get sidelined on your way there. You just have to deal with the hand you're dealt, no matter how frustrated you feel.

I couldn't do the workout I'd planned for the elliptical so I got on a spin bike instead. I couldn't so much as walk my dogs without causing my poor lil' toe more pain so I supplemented with squats and deadlifts. And as far as running is concerned- it's still possible for me at some point in the future, but exactly when is still uncertain. I'm not really okay with that, but I have to be.

While I'm waiting to transform my body back to it's pre-pregnancy level of fitness, I am undergoing a transition of another kind. This time last year, I was closing in on the final weeks before my second marathon. My goal was to run 8-minute splits for most of the race, and training to do so was the only thing that was important to me. If my running schedule got messed up due to work or family commitments, I'd go nuts. That doesn't - and can't - happen anymore. I will definitely run more marathons, but I'll have to be more flexible with my scheduling. It will be a balancing act; one that will require as much training as the race itself. All of my lofty running ambitions will be set aside as I attempt to reach just one goal: to be runner and a mom.

Scratch that, to be a mom and a runner.

3 months of missing blogs

Holy crap this thing is still here. Whoops. Here are some missing blogs (from my Loop blog on


Running and I used to have quite a thing for each other. More than a fling, but not quite a marriage, it was a reliable if not always consistent relationship. At times it developed into a full-blown infatuation; I allowed running to completely dictate my every move. Other times it was nothing more than a fleeting thought, on the back burner of someone else's stove.
This is one of those other times.

The rhythmic sound of perfectly worn soles on concrete sidewalks is replaced by the "click, swoosh," of a baby swing. The pace that could stir up a breeze on the most humid of days has slowed to an overly cautious stroll. Training guides and inspirational running novels collect dust on the bookshelf while breastfeeding manuals and "Parents" magazines pile up all over our living room. I knew this is how my priorities would shift during my pregnancy and recently, the arrival of our daughter, but I didn't not expect to feel this sense of hopelessness toward running. It feels as though we've broken up.

I had a relatively easy pregnancy so I was able to run through about 6 months or so, after which the way I was carrying made running unbearably uncomfortable. I maintained my fitness with the elliptical and spinning until the end of my 7th month, after which my job as a server provided me with more than enough physical activity. I went on long, hilly walks and hikes the days I didn't work to maintain some strength in my legs and to prevent those dreaded "cankles." Somewhere in my naive mind, I suspected it would only be a matter of a few weeks after giving birth that I'd not only be running again, but I'd almost certainly be doing a tempo run or speedwork. What did I get for all of that optimism? A Cesarean delivery that, 3 weeks later, leaves me aching if I so much as get up wrong, let alone attempt to move faster than 2.5 miles per hour.

So where does this leave me and running? I haven't the slightest idea. Asking other women in online forums when they resumed their workout routines after a c-section hasn't been helpful, because there's always at least 4 or 5 women who chime in about their gruesome mishaps. "I sneezed when I was 15 days postpartum and ripped myself apart!!! Don't do ANYTHING!!!" Any other advice sounds like a broken record; "Take it easy... listen to your body... you're a mom so running isn't important..." I don't even know why I bothered asking other women when really, I just want to fast-forward a few months and get a glimpse of my future self. Will I be sane? Will I be fit? Will running and I have found our way back together?

Right now, I know it's just not going to happen. Nothing would be worse than to be too hasty returning to any type of training and as a result, injuring myself beyond repair. If I want running to be something more than a memory, I have to spend a little more time accepting that it's only a memory for now. Perhaps this isn't a breakup, but only a break. No need to burn photographs or pawn any jewelry yet.