Thursday, January 28, 2010

Happy Birthday To Meeeee

In past years I've been stuck at work, pregnant and unable to drink, or both on my birthday, so this year I have absolutely no qualms with actually making my birthday known and celebrating it.

So, happy friggin' birthday to me.

I'm 27, which means I've graduated from being in my 20's to being in my late 20's.

I survived a year of being pregnant, keeping fit, continuing my education, and the constant uncertainty of my husband's ever-changing job situation (We're moving. We're not moving. We're moving. We're not moving... you get the idea).

At 23 - 6 months after quitting smoking and starting a workout regimine - I said I felt the healthiest I'd ever been in my entire life. I've been able to say the same thing every year since, including this one.

I am really glad I didn't wait until I was 30 to start having kids.

I love that getting older makes it okay (dare I say it- cool, even) to get caught up in "old-school" shit like watching Fresh Prince and Saved By The Bell.

Over a decade ago, when I was actually on the cross country and track team, I couldn't imagine actually craving to go on a run, let alone an "easy" 5, 6, or 7 miles.

While I often overhear younger coworkers' weekend plans with a twinge of envy, I wouldn't give up this homebody kind of life for anything. I'll take snuggling with my daughter, doggies, and husband over any downtown scene any day. Whereas before, one might be considered a loser for her lack of a social life, at my age it is totally acceptable to schedule a night in. Who cares if it's like, every night?

When you're anywhere between the ages of 19 and 26, being cynical usually just means you're jaded. When you're 27, being cynical means you're wise enough to accept the fact that nobody is above douchebaggery. Not even yourself.

There's so much more about this upcoming year and the age I will so proudly exclaim whenever carded for a glass of wine or martini (Shush. It still happens.) that I could go on about, but I'll sum it all up with saying that I am extremely grateful to be where I am. I really don't feel like I'm getting older, just... growing.

And it doesn't scare me that I'm fastly approaching 30, either. 30 is like the new 15 anyway, right?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

something to think about before you tip your server 7.5%

I have a beer and a martini in me, work last night was hell, and I'm ready to blog.

I ran my first race since before I got pregnant yesterday. I kept myself from racing my entire pregnancy because I didn't want to be tempted to push too hard, and I didn't want to pay for races if I wasn't really going to race. So going into this race, I had no way of gauging how I'd do.

The race is one our local paper sponsors every January, so it was just a downtown loop on roads I was mostly familiar with. I finished in 22:58 - nearly throwing up along the way - which I can honestly say I'm pretty happy with considering that I have not done any kind of structured speed work and have only been able to make it out for about 3 runs a week. Now I have a clear starting point, from which I can determine how I need to pace myself when training for the next race.

One thing I have not missed about racing or race training, however, would be having to work on the same day as a race or hard workout. The reality of being a mom in my late 20's hits me hard enough when I'm waiting on people still pouring Cosmos down the hatch at 11:00PM. Add a race to the mix and I'm just a mess. Put me in charge of a 15-top that does not grasp the fact that I can't telepathically order their food and beverage while simultaneously answering questions (and that no one will have anything in front of them so long as they hold me up at the table), and I'm ready to kill someone.

One of my coworkers told me I had the craziest "crazy eyes" they'd ever seen that night, as I exclaimed, "I'm fine! I swear!" after seeing that one of the couples at the table left me $5 on a $66 bill. They must have been disappointed that I - heaven forbid - had other tables to wait on and could not commit to being their personal servant for the evening.

So this is why I need to get faster - so I can race professionally. Sounds like a good plan, right? Although, I don't think beers or martinis play very well into that plan.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I can see clearly now...

I'm going to make a confession now that will probably catch me some major flack amongst the general female population: I've always thought the majority of moms who claim they don't have enough time to work out / eat healthy were just lazy.

Now hear me out.

I'm not talking about being a mom and running 50 miles a week. I'm also not talking about being a mom and making it to the gym 5 days a week. I'm just talking about getting out there, doing what you can, and making smarter-than-average choices when it comes to the food you put on your plate. After all, I know I am hardly the picture of fitness - let along running -perfection, as I accomplished a whopping 3 runs totalling 14 miles last week.

But amidst the chaos that I've come to accept as my life as of late, I am beginning to understand where the downward slide might begin. And it all starts with that one delayed workout.

It's gorgeous out - 62 degrees in January - I'm pretty well rested and I know that all it would take to bust out a few quick miles would be to change out of my frumpy nursing bra (which, by the way, is a piss-poor excuse for a bra) and into my beautiful new Fiona (an excellent sports bra, if you're on the hunt for one). But alas, reality is at the door, and she doesn't ring the doorbell. She knocks. First politely. Then, obnoxiously. Incessantly. Until finally, I am forced to cave and say, "OK, Life. FINE. I'll do whatever you need so that you will eventually leave me the fuck alone."

Except life leaves me alone at 11:22 PM. Not really the best time to run. It is, however, a fantastic time to catch up on the episodes of The Office I DVR'd on the TBS Tuesday-night marathon and sip on an oversized Bombay Sapphire martini until I feel fuzzy in the face.

So I think, "Well, tomorrow will be a good day to run. I've dealt with Life as much as I am capable of and it can't possibly expect more from me at this point." But sure enough, tomorrow comes, and Life springs a new one on me. The husband schedules the floors to be refinished, so we are kicked out of our home for a week. But then the husband comes home from work on Friday sick. Then I find out my mother mother - who the baby and I were staying with for 5 days - is also ill. Then the baby gets sick. Then the mother-in-law.

I have remained completely healthy through all this, but definitely a little worse for the wear. Which is why, instead of having ran today, I indulged in pizza, chocolate, and Bombay.

So to all of you moms out there who've had to put everyone and everything before yourselves - I offer you my empathy. It's hard to squelch that voice that screams at you to do what you want to do when everyone else yanks you in the opposite direction. It takes a lot to run. It takes a lot more not to.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

22:30 is the new 21:00

I just signed up for my first race in 15 months - since the marathon I ran a couple weeks before I got pregnant.

It's just a 5K, but I need to do something to see if I have my racing legs back. I've been doing my 5-milers at what I consider to be a respectable pace, usually busting out a sub-8 minute mile or two towards the end. I don't know if this will make my 5K time any better than my current personal best but I do feel that my legs are somehow stronger than before. Maybe it's the countless lunges with 17 pounds of extra weight resting on my hip to pick up dropped binkies. Or perhaps it's the fun new squat maneuver that involves getting up off the floor from a cross-legged position unaided (while holding the before mentioned extra weight). Surely, this child has become the best resistance routine these glutes have ever seen.

As I look forward to this race - now 11 days away - I feel like I'm ready to get back into running. Not like these past few months of me playing pretend a few days a week on the treadmills and ellipticals at the gym. I want to plan and train for races. I want to get excited about new gear and have a reason to use it. I want to be able to justify dropping a Saturday night's worth of tips on a new pair of sneakers.

I even re-subscribed to Runners World. I can't have that magazine showing up at my doorstep if I don't look the part, right? Besides which, I can only take so much of the parenting magazines that magically started showing up the day after I arrived home with Alexis. Of course I skip right to the "school age" portion of the magazine, because I enjoy hyperventillating about the day Alexis comes off the bus in tears because the other kids are just so mean and I wasn't there to kick their asses. I digress.

My goal is 22:30. That's a 7:30 min/mile pace (I'm sure you could do the math, but if not, don't feel bad because I sat here counting it out on my fingers). I know that in the past I've been capable of faster, but I'm not sure how much my body will tolerate this time around. My legs could take it, I'm sure, but I have new aches to pay attention to, such as the site of my incision. I've been warned that it could feel uncomfortable months, even years after a cesarean, but I have yet to learn google how it will affect my running down the line.

If anyone out there knows, please enlighten me!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

My New Year

As we usher out the old year (or flee from it) and welcome the new, it seems many people are in the mood to reminisce. You, undoubtedly, have already been tagged by 27 friends on Facebook to complete some sort of 2009 survey or 'top 10 moments' list. I have too but the trouble is, I haven't been in a reminiscing kind of mood.

With the birth of my child, I'd like to say I've become a little bit more of a live-in-the-moment kind of gal, but that isn't exactly true, either. I still fret about the future, both far and near, and get caught up in meaningless details like a never-ending pile of dirty laundry or crumbs on the kitchen counter. One thing I don't do so much anymore, however, is get caught up in the past. At least not when it comes to anything that happened before Alexis came into our lives.

I'd heard women say before that their lives seemed to be missing something before having children. But as you don't know how good your life can be with something if you've never had it before, they didn't realize how much more complete they'd feel with a child. I personally despise trite phrases as a means of summing up my emotions about a life-altering event, but there's no other way to put it than to say that I, too, felt a new sense of completion as I first held Alexis in my arms.

Which is why I can't reminisce that much about last year. Everything up until the day I went into labor was, well, life as usual. Work, school, erands, even the ups and downs of pregnancy, were all experienced with a dulled sense of awareness compared to how much more real life became with a baby. My baby.

My new year started on August 5th, 2009. The first day of Alexis Rose's life also became the first day of mine.