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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 in Review

This has been, hands down, the most surreal and amazing year of my life.

I spent the first few months of 2009 primarily hunched over the nearest toilet. Pregnancy gave me morning, afternoon, and evening sickness, and I found myself puking in all kinds of places: at home, at friends' houses, in restaurant parking lots, pulled over by the side of the road, and at school. I was pretty miserable, but I kept on running. Around the end of March, the morning sickness abated and pregnancy got a whole lot easier, but running didn't. Still, I kept at it with slow, short distances and little expectation in terms of distance and speed.

I managed to run until I was 32 weeks preggo, but after my 2 miler on June 10th, I threw in the towel on pregnant running. It was too hard and too hot at that point. I am proud of the running I did while pregnant and believe I ran for as long was possible for me. For the remainder of my pregnancy, I still walked everyday, but otherwise, I allowed myself to take it pretty easy. Here I am just a few days before Norah's birth on August 10th: Looking at that picture makes it hard to fathom that I was ever that pregnant! Oh, how quickly that mom-amnesia sets in! I know that, of course, she was inside me, but at this point, it just seems absolutely unbelievable.

A few days after the above picture was taken, Norah was born, and life for me was changed forever.
I spent the first week or two in utter disbelief that I was actually a mother and that I actually had a daughter. And, in some ways, I still can't believe it. As everyone tells you: With children, your life will completely change, and it's very true, but you can't fathom how true it is until it happens. Not just because your sleeping patterns, eating habits, priorities, and relationship with your spouse all change, but also because you experience love like you never have before. At least, this was the case for me.

I fell in love with Norah with an intensity I never expected. And it's such a different kind of love from romantic or familial love that I had no idea that it was gonna sweep me off my emotional feet. Then, I also re-fell in love with Jerry. It's tough to explain, but it's like I fell in love with him in a different way. I guess I suddenly loved him for being a father (and such a good one at that!) not just for being my husband, and that too was a new and unexpected love. Lastly, I simply fell in love with my family: With Norah's arrival, I felt that what we had created was something that was all our own; and while my family still includes my parents, siblings, etc, this family that Jerry and I have built is really MY family.
So, yeah, Norah's arrival certainly was the most significant event of the year, but soon after she was born, I started to itch to run again. I was torn about waiting until the 6 week post-partum mark, or going ahead on my own when I felt ready. In the end, I went for my first post-partum run about 4 weeks after her birth, and at the 6 week mark, I set my sights on a few small races to close out the year. I began running regularly again -- at the slowest pace I've ever run -- and trained first for the Key Biscayne 10K on Nov 14. Completing that felt like I had officially made my return to running.
Since then, I also ran a Turkey Trot 5K and began my training plan for some HMs in 2010. In the end, assuming I do my planned 5 miler tomorrow, I will have run 437 miles this year. A fraction of the mileage many of you have logged this year, but considering I ran half the year pregnant, then took 12 weeks off, and then eased back in post-partum, I am proud of the miles I logged this year. They may be few, but each one meant a lot to me.
At the end of 2009, I find my life is infinitely more challenging than my life at the end of 2008: Balancing being a wife, mother, teacher, and runner has certainly been tough; however, my life has never been richer or more rewarding. And running has come to mean something much more significant to me. It's no longer just a way to maintain my physical fitness and help me decompress. Becoming a mother has helped me see running in two new ways: First of all, now it is "my" time, a space and time for just myself, which is worth a lot to any mother. Secondly, I run now for Norah -- to show her what women can do and what healthy and strong mean for a woman. Granted, she's too young to understand that now, but I hope that growing up with such an example will be influential in how she perceives her own health and strength.

For those reasons, the number of miles I logged this year are meaningless; yet, those same reasons have made running more meaningful.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Locating Satellites...

This morning when I checked the weather before our morning walk, I was suprised to see the temp was 44. Yes, 44! Degrees. Farenheit. In Florida! I nearly spit my coffee out.

So, I did what was sensible: drank another cup of coffee, and bundled Norah and myself up, and she, Scooter and I went for a rather brisk walk.

Thankfully, the day warmed up, but the high was only in the 60s, so it turned out to be another near-perfect day: Sunny clear skies, nearly non-existent humidity, and a comfortable, moderate temp. Perfect conditions for a late afternoon run.

Jerry got home at 4, and I jumped into my running clothes and hit the pavement for a 4 miler. But however ready I was for the run, the Garmin was a bit lethargic. I don't know what its problem was: I can understand when it has trouble locating a signal on a cloudy or rainy day, but perfectly clear, sunny skies? WTF?! I had to stand around outside for nearly 5 minutes in order for it to locate the satellites, and then once it located a signal, it immediately lost it a quarter mile into the run. Luckily, I know a lot of my routes like the back of my hand, so I knew exactly what 4 miles consisted of, and with the timer still running, I had some sense of my pace: I finished the run in 40:48, which is about a 10:10 min/mile pace. Not so shabby.

It felt great too. Which is really the only data I need in order to measure a run's success.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Decade in Review

As the year comes to a close, and we all reflect on 2009, I also find myself reflecting on the decade as it too comes to a close. It's always amazing how quickly time goes by, but to think back on the past 10 years, utterly astounds me.

Ten years ago, I was a 21 year old college senior, and like my fellow college students, we all greeted the feared Y2K with an inhuman amount of booze. In my recollection, we were so eager to get into a particularly hard to open bottle of champagne, we ended up using a screw driver to pry the cork out, and I believe I lost my college boyfriend at a party (it turned out he'd been barfing and passed out in a bathroom...ah...college days!).

So, without further ado, the 2000's of Jess in review:
  • 2000: Graduated college. Started graduate school, which also meant my first year of teaching a college class as part of my assistantship. Was so nervous before my first class that I threw up in the faculty bathroom.
  • 2001: Cont'd with grad school, started to get the hang of teaching and was surprised to find that I liked it, got engaged to college boyfriend (same Y2K puker).
  • 2002: Wrote thesis, graduated grad school, began teaching as an adjunct professor, broke off engagement to college boyfriend, spent summer living on a friend's couch and drinking copious amounts of alcohol. In the late fall, I met Jerry. We were just friends then.
  • 2003: Cont'd teaching as an adjunct, but was really making my primary living via waitressing -- such is the humble existence of someone who gets an MA in English. Began dating Jerry. Fell in love.
  • 2004: Moved to FL with Jerry. Cont'd teaching as an adjunct -- at 3 different colleges.
  • 2005: Jerry and I bought our condo (and got started on remodeling it), we got engaged and, 6 months later, got married. Started running. Started my blog. Still teaching as an adjunct.
  • 2006: We got Scooter. I started training for the Disney Marathon. Was awarded "Adjunct Prof of the Year" at one college that I particularly liked working for, and then got a Full Time Temporary position there.
  • 2007: Finally finished the remodel on our condo -- just in time to begin to see the beginning of the end with real estate. Completed the Disney Marathon, but was injured so missed my time goal by a wide margin. Took some time off, then began training for Chicago Marathon -- that ended in disaster (haven't aimed for a marathon since). Was finally hired as a Tenure-Track Professor at my preferred college. Got to drop the other adjunct positions and finally began to make a decent salary.
  • 2008: Turned 30. Ran 6 half marathons, as well as a variety of other distances. Got preggo!
  • 2009: Most of my year was consumed with being pregnant and preparing for the arrival of Norah, but I still ran until I was 32 weeks pregnant. The pinnacle of the year was, of course, Norah's birth on Aug 1oth. And, after her birth, returned to running and ran 2 races this year: a 10K and a 5K. I have more to say about this year, but will save that for a specific "2009 in Review" post.

So, here I am at the end of the decade and I have found myself with people and in places I could have never expected back when I drunkenly rung in the 2000's as a college student. What will the next decade bring? I honestly have no clue, but I hope to still be enjoying a happy marriage, healthy and happy children (yes, plural), a rewarding and enjoyable career, an aged but still lively Scooter dog, and running. Everything else is remains excitingly open!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Loot and a 10 Miler

We had a great Christmas, and the best part was opening all of Norah's gifts. But, the second best part was that I got some great running stuff:

Plus, I got a new pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 10s, another pair of Balega socks, and new earbuds for my iPod, and today, for my 10 miler, I got to use almost all of this new stuff.

I don't need the new shoes for another few months because I just bought my current pair in November and they have minimal mileage on them so far, but I did use a pair of my new socks, my new earbuds, and my new handheld water bottle, which I loved! With this new handheld, I could finally drink while running, and with its little pocket, I fit 3 GU cubes (which was just the right amount for this distance).

The 10 miler went well, and I ran very consistently (only had to stop for 2 lights, and with the handheld, I didn't have to walk to drink and eat), and finished it up in 1:44:46 with an average pace of 10:29/mile -- the same pace I maintained for my 9 miler last week.

After the run, I showered up and put on my Recovery Socks. I don't they're necessary for a "long" run such as this, but I figured I'd test them out. I'm wearing them right now. They remind me of the compression socks my grandfather had to wear after his open heart surgery a few years ago. Except mine are fuschia!

Hope the Running Santa was good to everyone else! I hope to catch up on your blogs later this evening.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Thanks, Santa!

I think Santa came a day early for me and brought the gift of speed. For my 4 miler this morning, I was given an average pace of 10:16/mile and finished the run in exactly 41:00, which is most certainly the fastest 4 miler I've run in awhile.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Eve Eve 3 Miler

After having a few days that were a bit chilly by SoFlo standards, today was the PERFECT day: Low 70s, low humidity, sunny, clear, light breeze -- seriously, that is sublime weather. So, this evening, I went for a quick 3 miler around 5 pm, and with the sun setting, it was really my idea of the perfect evening for a short run. I didn't bring the Garmin; instead, I just listened to my tunes and enjoyed the evening air -- not many of us get to run in shorts this time of year and it's this season that makes me feel lucky to be running in FL. Good run. Good, good run.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Brrrrrrrr....

As I've mentioned in my past few posts, it's gotten chilly here in South Florida, and for the most part, that's a nice change of pace and is especially nice for running. But, when it comes to my daily walks with Norah and Scooter, it means that we've had to bundle up a bit.
Scooter didn't have to bundle up since he comes equipped with a fur coat, and I think he'd rather chew his own foot off rather than be stuffed into a doggie jacket. But he does tolerate me when I do things ike this:

He reminds me of that little dog the Grinch has!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter Misery One Miler

This morning, I got up early in order to complete my entry for Running Laur's virtual 1 miler. I actually had a planned 3 miler, but the RD is flexible and allowed those of us with scheduled runs to just use our fastest mile for our entry.

At 5:30 am, it was 50 degrees here in South Florida, which I know for many of you this time of year sounds like swimsuit weather, but for FL, that's about as wintery as it gets. In preparation for the run, I had set out my running clothes last night and had laid out tights and a long sleeve shirt, and admittedly, I also dug out a hat -- just in case. But this morning, I decided that the hat would be too much and would probably make me hot, so I just stuck with the shirt and tights. And I'm glad I had them because I was pretty cold setting out.

Of course, I quickly warmed up and had a nice run, but it was by no means race worthy. I can get runs done at that god awful hour, but I can't seem to pick up the pace, so my overall time for the 3 miles was 32:48 and my fastest mile was 10:49. Not very impressive, but I'll take it. An unimpressive run is better than no run at all.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

9 Miler and Some Laughs

Yesterday, Norah laughed out loud for the first time while watching Scooter and Jerry wrestle. It was so cute -- kinda like a Beavis and Butthead laugh (heh-heh-heh-heh) -- and we laughed every time she did. Today, Jerry got her to repeat her laughs, so I quickly whipped out the video camera and taped it. She was laughing more before I pulled out the camera, but you get the gist of it from this.

video

Cute, right?

In actual running news, I got out for a 9 miler this morning, and as predicted, the temperature had dropped over night and it was only in the mid-50s when I set out around 9 am. Perfect running weather, except for the strong headwind I was running into for the first half of the run. But, once I turned around and had the wind to my back, the going was much easier, and I finished it up in 1:34:18 for an average pace of 10:29/mile.

Tonight, it's supposed to get even colder for an overnight low of 47 degrees! People, that is friggin' COLD for South Florida, and I fully expect to spot people in parkas tomorrow.

As for myself, I was planning a morning run tomorrow and I think I might have to pull out my capris and a long sleeve tech shirt. It's actually kind of exciting to get to wear those running items -- I only get to use them once or twice a year!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Santa Saturday

So far, we've had a very nice Saturday. I ran this morning -- just a short 3 miler (but tonight the temp is supposed to drop down into the 50s, so I'm gonna do my week's long run tomorrow); then, we went out to lunch, and Norah fell asleep in the car on the way there and then proceeded to sleep through our entire lunch, which made it very nice for Jerry and I. Then, we ran a few errands, and finally, went to the mall to see Santa!

The line wasn't too bad and we waited for less than 30 minutes, which was fine since Norah feel asleep while Jerry held her and she slept through the wait and woke up right when it was her turn to sit on Santa's lap. We couldn't coax a smile out of her for the pic, but at least she didn't cry (although, if she had, I honestly would have just found it funny).

While waiting in line, we saw two kids break down in tears on Santa's lap and we saw one excited little boy who had cut out pictures of the toys he wanted so he could show Santa visuals of what he wanted for Christmas, which I thought was so dang cute.

This afternoon, we plan to continue the festivies by baking some sugar cookies, and Jerry made an official declaration that his cookies are gonna kick my cookies' ass, so I guess I better pull out the apron and get bakin, because I don't bake loser cookies!

Friday, December 18, 2009

4 Month Stats

This morning, Norah had her 4 month check up at the pediatrician's, and here's her current stats:

Height: 25 inches (72 percentile)
Weight: 14 lbs, 2 oz (55 percentile)

I think it's funny that's she's above average for height since I'm so below average for height, so what height she's getting, it's coming from Jerry's side!

The rest of the appointment was good; she's healthy and on track with development, so the check up itself was uneventful. At the end, she did get a few shots, and because Jerry was busy at work today, he couldn't make the appointment which meant I had to hold her while the nurse tortured her with needles. It was awful: Norah cried and I nearly cried. But, it was fast, and by the time we got out of the exam room and up to the reception desk, Norah was calm and smiling at the receptionist.In other news, it's been pouring rain here since yesterday evening (the news said we got nearly a foot of rain last night!), and this afternoon, I was walking Norah and Scooter and some idiot car drove through a puddle right by us and splashed all 3 of us. Norah broke out in tears -- more out of shock than anything else -- and I had to pick her up and soothe her while giving the driver the finger. Seriously, it really pissed me off that someone would be so oblivious to us and so inconsiderate. If I hadn't had Norah and Scooter with me, I would have run them down and, and, and...hmmmm...giving them a thorough talking to? I don't know what I would've done, but I was pretty pissed at that car.

Which suddenly reminds me: I had a dream last night where I was fighting with someone and I have a distinct mental image of me wielding a baseball bat. Don'tcha ya hate when you only remember a small part of a dream? I wonder if I was fighting a regular person or if it was a zombie or something; and yes, fighting zombies is a regular dream repeat for me. And it seems that swinging a baseball bat is not an uncommon part of my dreams. Huh. Maybe if I'd had a bat with me this afternoon, that car-splasher would be sorry!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tired, Tired, Tired

Last night as we were getting ready for bed, I was bitchin' and moanin' about how tired I am, and I was telling Jerry how I can't believe that pre-Norah I ever thought I was busy. When I think back to before she was born, or before I was pregnant, it literally blows my mind to think about how much extra time I had (yet, at the time, I don't think I realized or appreciated all that extra time). I am not kidding when I tell you that I used to sleep 8-9 hours a night, and then come home from work in the early afternoon and take a 2 hour nap. Goodness gracious, I would kick a puppy to get that much sleep now!*

Jerry replied, "Yeah, but you wouldn't trade that, would you?"

No, of course not. Norah is worth WAY more than a few hours of sleep to me, but it is amazing how your life does a complete 180 once you have a child -- to think, I used to just walk out the door (anytime I wanted to) with just my purse!

We marveled over all the changes the last year has brought for us, and Jerry chuckled with: "Just wait, when we have another kid, you'll be saying, 'I can't believe I ever thought that just Norah was a lot of work -- I used to get so much sleep then!'"

I laughed too at that because I know it's all about perspective, and I'm certain I will say something like that one day.

So, anyhoo, that's a long intro to my main point: I was too tired for an early run again today. But the upside is that b/c today is my last day of class, I'll get home a few hours early and will most certainly have time to fit it in this evening before it gets dark. And, because today is my last day for the term, I'm hoping to get some rest in over the next two weeks -- during Norah's naps or opting to go to bed extra early, and I should be able to since I won't have to use that time to grade papers like I do now.

*Really, I know I should be the last person with an infant to complain about sleep since Norah sleeps from 6 pm-6:30 am, but just because she sleeps a solid 12 hours a night, doesn't mean I do. I usually go to bed around 9 pm (yes, Jerry, sometimes I want to be in bed by 8, shut up) and I am always up at 4:30 am to pump. And yes, I could eliminate that 4:30 "feeding" and endure a few days worth of discomfort and then be able to sleep later, but I want to keep that "feeding" because: A.) It is partially what motivates me to stay up and do those early runs on the days I actually do them, and B.) That one "feeding" alone provides Norah with the majority of the milk she needs for bottles at DC and her early evening with Jerry.

And, no, I would not actually kick a puppy. I *puffy heart* puppies. But a tired Jess is not a reasonable Jess.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Confession:

I skipped my workouts on both Monday and Tuesday.

There, I feel better now.

My excuse? Simple exhaustion. I just felt so tired both days that I skipped the morning to sleep in and then I failed to get them done in the evening because after a full day, running or cross training were the last two things I was interested in. My reasons for such tiredness are the result of a confluence of three things: Having company back to back, getting ready for Christmas, and concluding the semester. Having them all coincide has left me wiped out.

However, I resolved last night that I wouldn't let another day slip by without getting my run in, so this morning, I rose early and ran 3 miles (33:07). And just as I knew it would, getting out there and doing it made me feel WAY better than skipping it the previous two days. It's amazing that I've been running for 4 and 1/2 years now, but I still need reminding that I actually feel more energized when I push myself to do the running rather than skipping it in favor of sleep or sitting in front of the TV.

Thankfully, my life is about to be a whole lot simpler for the next few weeks: No more company and we get to enjoy the holidays by ourselves, I'm nearly done with my xmas shopping and preparations, and by tomorrow afternoon, I'll be done with the semester; then, I get to enjoy 2 weeks off at home, which I am SO looking forward to!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday Miscellany

First of all, Norah had a great weekend with her Grandpa:His name is Ernie, so he brought her a stuffed Ernie, which worked out for some cute pics of them together.

And, we had a great Christmas party on Saturday night -- we had a lot of fun and all got some great loot!

Jerry's dad left this morning, and then I had a doctor appointment, so Jerry took the morning off. My dr. apt was just an annual check up, and really, the only reportable thing about that is that I am officially back to my pre-preggo weight! I had weighed myself at home a week or two ago and saw that, but today at the doctor's office, their scale reported the same number, so I was pretty pleased.

Of course, the suck of the matter is that while the weight is gone, the shape isn't necessarily back. Not that I ever had abs of adamantium, but before pregnancy, I did have a relatively flat, firm tummy. But, now it is...squidgier...than before. So this is part of the reason for incorporating the cross training into my runing routine; running is great for burning calories, and it does some toning, but I really need to work on strength and stretching exercises in order to restore my body to some of its former shape.

Lastly, I chose sleep this morning instead of an early run -- I just feel completely exhausted today -- so I suppose an evening run after work is gonna be in order if I am going to continue to adhere to "ze plan." That's okay; I really appreciated that extra hour of snooze time this morning!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

8 Miles

Yesterday's cross training consisted of shopping, wrapping gifts, and cleaning the house, so I never got around to testing out Jillian Michaels' Shred. But, I think all 3 of those activities count, and the good news is that I'm about 95% done with my Christmas shopping. I just have to get everything for Jerry (but his stocking is done and so are his gifts "from" Norah) and then go stand in line at the PO to ship off everything else. Ugh...not looking forward to that.

This morning, I did not get up early for my planned 8 miler; instead, I "slept in" until 6:40 when Norah got up, then went for my run at about 7:30. It was later in the morning than I had originally planned, but since it's a Saturday and Jerry's home, I don't necessarily have to run in the pre-dawn hours if I don't want to, and because it's December, the weather is temperate enough to run mid-morning. So, I ran my planned 8 miler, and it went pretty well. I actually remembered water this time so that was a huge bonus right there.

I finished it up in 1:24:16, which is an average pace of 10:33/mile, which is right within my target pace range, so that was good.

Anyhoo...my FIL is here for the weekend, so we've been visiting with him, and he has graciously offered to watch Norah this evening while we go to our Christmas party with friends -- not that he has to do much; she goes to bed between 6-6:30, so he's mainly just volunteering to be here in the house with she and Scooter while we're out. Scooter will probably require more attention than she will.

But speaking of the holiday party, I must skedaddle to make the appetizer I'm bringing. Toodles!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

4 Months and 4 Miles

Today, Norah is 4 months old. And she continues to be such a sweet baby who eats and sleeps well, and seems to be a happy, healthy girl.

This month hasn't brought about any major milestones, but rather, it's been a refinement of many things: She's stronger on her tummy and she tolerates it for longer periods of time now. She sits propped up better. And she reaches for and grasps things with better and better control. And, everything she grabs goes into her incredibly drooly mouth.

She is also "talking" up a storm now -- lots of baby babble that sounds mostly like a hybrid of a cat and a pterodactyl -- and recently, she's been sticking her tongue out and trying to make sounds. I can't quite describe it very well, and I have failed to get it on video so far, but it's pretty darn cute to watch her experimenting with talk. And we have lots of good "conversations" :)

The last thing that has been significant this month is her continuing interest in the world around her. She turns to see us when we talk, and we can see her concentrating on watching, hearing, and touching things. She has even taken a keen interest in watching Scooter, and we've even seen her reaching out to him in an attempt to touch him.

And, of course, she remains as cute as ever:
In running news, I got up early this morning for a 4 miler. It went well, and I finished it in 43:25. It was again incredibly humid out, and there was fog! We don't have fog very often here in FL -- but the effect was kind of fun, kind of like running through a cloud.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Right on Schedule

I overslept this morning by about 20 minutes, and my first instinct when I oversleep is this: Oh well, I can't go run now. Then, I go back to sleep. But, this morning I powered past such apathy and got out of bed and got ready.

With 20 minutes less time than usual, I didn't have as much time to get ready for my run as I normally do, so after pumping and taking Scooter out, I skipped my usual cup of coffee, etc and hopped right into my running clothes and got out the door. I ran a solid 3 miler and was back with plenty of time to shower before Norah woke up. And, I'm so glad I didn't just brush the run off because I had slept in some, which is exactly what I would've done a week ago.

Now that I have a hard copy training schedule to follow, I feel so much more committed and motivated, and registering for and committing to those races in early 2010 has really provided me with the necessary mojo to create some consistency for myself. It's been so long since I ran with a schedule that I had kind of forgotten how helpful it is!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Cross Train Tuesday

I am the sort of runner who runs and...rests. I really don't do any other kind of exercise. Occassionally, I do some yoga, and occassionally, I do some weight training, but by "occassionally," I mean like once a month. Or so.

So, in an effort to remedy this and in devising my new training schedule for the HMs I mentioned yesterday, I decided to incorporate some cross training on Tuesdays and Fridays. Problem? I don't have a gym membership, so I have to look elsewhere to find methods for cross training. Problem solver? On Demand.

Even though I have long known that On Demand has exercise programs, I've never really thought to explore it and see what's there. What I discovered is that there's a plethora of programs on there -- all for free! There's everything from yoga to Jillian Michaels to a variety of aerobics and strength training programs; in fact, there was so much to chose from, I felt a little overloaded trying to select something for today.

In the end, I decided to do a 15 min yoga ab program, and it worked out perfectly. I like short, concise workouts when it comes to any form of strength training and this worked out very well: It was challenging, so I felt like I got a decent little workout, but because of its short length, I didn't get bored.

For Friday's XT, I'm thinking of testing out that She-Devil Michaels and doing Shred 1. I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Ouch!

Question: What's more painful than training for 3 half marathons?

Answer: Paying the registration fees for 3 half marathons!

So, I registered for the Miami Half, the A1A Half and the Disney Princess Half this evening, and I think my checking account just had heart palpitations about the race fees. Oh well. I'm looking forward to all 3 races, and it's gonna be an awesome half marathon bonanza in January, February, and March!

3 Miles and Outtakes

For the past few weeks, my running has been very inconsistent: One week, I have regular runs and I log some respectable mileage; then, the next week, I barely run at all. In an effort to correct this, I decided that this week is a fresh start and my primary goal is simply some consistency. So, to start off such freshness, I got up at the ungodly hour of 5 am and went out for a 3 miler. It was nice and cool out, so the run felt good. It wasn't fast (33:06), but I got it done. And on a Monday morning at that!

In other news, yesterday I stuffed Norah into a cute holiday outfit that my stepmother had sent her, and Jerry and I staged a photoshoot in an attempt to capture some good pics for our Christmas card. It's not easy taking pics of a baby, but we did get some shots that were decent, and in the end, I put together a card that I felt was "good enough." But, what I thought was funny were some of the "outtakes." If I were a more creative person, I'd find a clever way of using these pics for the Christmas card!

Without further ado, here are a few pics that did NOT make the Christmas card this year:


Sunday, December 06, 2009

Beach Baby

I've been MIA the last few days because my dad was in town visiting. He arrived Thursday evening and spent the weekend with us. We had a good visit, and he enjoyed meeting his granddaughter for the first time. And, since part of any visit to FL should include a trip to the beach, we spent yesterday morning doing just that (despite the fact that it wasn't a very sunny day).

So, here's Norah doing "Super Baby" beachside. Here she is with Jerry. She got to dip her little legs and toes into the water.
Here she is with me -- she's clearly more interested in the towel than anything else.
Here she is with my dad; she's wearing her swimsuit cover up here. Yes, not only does she own a large variety of swimsuits, but she also has accompanying swimwear accessories.
And here we are as a family; unfortunately, she's scowling at the camera, but I swear that she didn't have a grumpy moment during the entire outing.

So, I just dropped my dad off at the airport, and it's back to normal for us but only for a few days because Jerry's dad is coming to visit us next weekend. We're referring to this month as "The December of Dads"!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Of Snails, Sprinklers, Snot Rockets and Sweat

Snails
One hazard of running in the dawn's early light is that the night's snails are still sliming their ways across sidewalks, and I always feel bad if I step on one, so I do my best to keep a sharp eye out for them and avoid crushing them. This is tough to do in the 5 am darkness, but streetlights help illuminate the path and I can distinguish their "snail trails" glistening in the semi-darkness. And lord knows that snails, unlike the lightning-fast lizards, are not fast enough to scurry out of a runner's thundering footfalls, so I always have to be vigilant.

Sprinklers
South Florida has been in a drought for the past few years, so during the winter (which is more accurately called the "dry season"), watering lawns is restricted to either the pre-dawn or post-dusk hours. This means that many communities set the timers on their sprinklers for the time when I am running in the early morning. And unfortunately, it seems that these sprinklers are often times do more watering of the sidewalk than the grass, so I constantly find myself getting sprayed. In some ways, it's not so bad because it's kinda cool and refreshing; but in most ways, it's annoying because the last thing I want on my early morning run is to get splashed in the face with water.

Snot Rockets
I am still somewhat congested, so admittedly, I had to fire off some snot rockets this morning on my run, and one of them did not get much trajectory and I found myself with a stream of boogers on my face. Not so bueno. I had to wipe it off with my hand and then wipe my hand on my shorts. Gross. As Jerry told me last night, "You're cute, but you're filthy."

Sweat
The humidity this morning was 93% (rain is in the forecast), so it was a sweaty, sweaty run, and when I got home, I was literally dripping sweat on the floor of the bathroom as I got ready to shower. Yeah, between the snotty nose and the sweaty face, I was a picture of prettiness. Guess I needed that sprinkler to the face!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Back at It

After nearly a week with no running, I finally woke up this morning feeling good, so I got out there for an early AM 3 miler. Granted, the running loosened some of that mucus up, so there were some phlegmy coughs and a snot-rocket or two, but that's why running after a cold or flu is good: It helps dislodge up some of that congestion.

Other than simply getting up and actually getting out there for the run, there's not much to report about it.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Holiday Weekend Wrap Up

Bullet-point style:
  • Had a nice anniversary with the Jer-Bear. We stayed in and made a nice dinner at home this year, but it was still a nice evening together.
  • Had a great Turkey Day with friends: We ate lots, drank lots, talked lots, watched some football, enjoyed having kidlets running around this year, and were, in general, merry.
  • Friday, we put up our tree and decorated our house for Christmas. This means we popped "Christmas Vacation" in the DVD player while we assembled and decorated and wrapped. In our household, it's tradition to hear "Shitter's full!" while we hang ornaments.
  • We did not get up at 3 am to shop Black Friday. I'm afraid of that kind of shopping.
  • On Saturday, we spent the afternoon with friends.
  • And on Sunday, we repeated this, but added football watching and a shrimp boil to the visiting (and, I can say that a shrimp boil is WAY better to enjoy outside in FL in November rather than FL in July).
  • And through all of that, I did not run much. In fact, the only running I've done in the past 7 days has been the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day.
  • The primary reason for the lack of running has been that I've been sick. Remember last Tuesday when I said I was sick, but I thought it was a 24-48 hour bug? Yeah, turns out it's more like a 168 hour bug. It's been a week, and while I feel better than I sound (I sound like a cross between Darth Vadar and a lounge singer who's been smoking for 30 years), I don't feel great.
  • Hopefully one or two more days will heal me so I can return to the running.

So, it was a great Thanksgiving Vacation, and it sucks that now it's back to regularly scheduled work. However, only 3 weeks until the end of the semester and then I have two weeks off, so I can't complain too much.

I hope everyone else enjoyed their long weekend and had a great holiday!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Daddy's Girl

This morning, I got to sleep in while Jerry got up with Norah -- which was a wonderful treat -- but what was funny is that when I got up, I found her dressed in her Godzilla t-shirt and a pair of jeans, and I thought to myself, "Hmmm...a black graphic tee with jeans...this ensemble seems familiar..." Oh, that's right! It's the kind of outfit Jerry always dresses himself in!
He says that he didn't purposely dress her in clothes that resembled his own, but that's what I find the funniest part of this: He dressed her in clothes that he felt went well together, which just speaks to his aesthetic: Boy or girl, he feels that black tees and jeans always look good. Which, I have to admit, despite the fact that she will surely be mistaken for a boy today, I think she looks dang cute! And, Jerry's not so bad himself ;)

And for those on the fence about which one of us Norah resembles, I think these two pics confirm it: She definitely looks like Daddy's girl!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tamarac Turkey Trot 2009 Race Report

The turkey trot is always one of my favorite races of the year, primarily because of its convenience: The course goes right past my house, and the start/finish are about a block away. So, race day preparations don't get any easier.

At 6:30, I went over and got my bib and d-tag, then returned home and got Norah and Jerry up. I left Norah in her Turkey Day PJs, fed her and then loaded her into the stroller and we all headed over to the race. Jerry hung out with Norah and Scooter, and I went to the start. This race gets more and more popular each year, and this year, I think there were well over 2,000 participants.

With that many people on a 5K course, there was the usual congestion and dodging of small children, but I had no time goal this morning. I knew I wouldn't come close to a PR of any kind, so I just took it easy and ran at a comfortable pace. Since I've been sick most of the week, this was my first run all week, and it felt good. I finished in 32:07, which is actually not a PW (personal worst) for me: The first year I race this race, back in 2005, I ran it in 33:00, so even now when I'm slow, I'm not as slow as I started out when I first began running.

At the finish, Jerry, Norah and Scooter were waiting to see me, and it was fun to have them there once again. Here are Norah and I (and Scooter is there sniffing at something in the bottom corner) after the race; and yes, it's ironic to have a snowman banner behind me with palm trees behind it. I'm sure there are some Floridians who have never even seen snow, let alone a snowman. All in all, the race was a great way to kick off the holiday, as always.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sicky Sickerson

Norah came down with a cold over the weekend. We noticed that she seemed a bit congested before she went to bed on Saturday, and by Sunday morning, she had a clear case of Booger Baby. She clearly didn't feel good on Sunday and Monday, but her only distinct symptom was nasal congestion, so we have been doing what we can in terms of clearing her nose out *she HATES the aspirator* and making sure she gets plenty of rest and plenty to eat (a plugged nose doesn't seem to hinder her appetite so that's good).

So, then yesterday, I noticed I had what felt like a dry throat, but obviously, it was the start of my own cold. Thus, I woke up last night to my own running nose, and this morning, feel congested and ucky. Thankfully, there's no fever, so the ick seems to be concentrated in just my head, which is more manageable.

But I still didn't run this morning. Instead, I opted to take a Tylenol Cold and spend the extra time in bed with Kleenex shoved up my nose.

**On the strange side, I dreamt that Norah didn't have a cold; instead, in my dream, she had been teething. So, in the dream, I went into her room and she smiled up at me with 8 teeth! (Yes, I counted them in my dream.) So this morning, when I checked on her, I just had to feel her gums. No teeth. Phew!

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Runner's Risk

It seems that within the past week, I have heard -- from several different people -- how running poses such a huge risk. No, they weren't talking about ruining one's knees or having a heart attack while running; they were talking about assault.

And, it does seem true that on the news, runners (especially women) are the victims of violent assault or rape. The stories are often frightening enough to prevent some people from engaging in the sport. Because I'm a runner, and a woman, who often runs in the dark, well-meaning friends and family are often warning me about engaging in such a dangerous activity. Generally, I am appreciative that everyone cares for me in this way, but in the end, I am dismissive of their worries.

Don't get me wrong, I don't run in areas I'm unfamiliar with and I don't run through poorly lit neighborhoods. But while I take such elementary precautions, I also simply trust that when I go out the door, I'll be fine. And that's because I have to. If I started worrying about all the risks I am undertaking by going out for a run, I'd never step out the door.

This idea of a runner's level of risk has been stewing within my brain for a few days, and I wanted to check some statistics about it, and here's what some very basic research has revealed: I can't find an actual statistic that reports a runner's risk for assault (if you can find one, thanks, go ahead and post it in the comments), but I can find statistics for a runner's risk of skin cancer (which is pretty high since only 50% of us reported using sun block on a regular basis); I also learned that while a runner has a low risk of being hit by a car, he or she has a pretty high risk of dying in a car accident in which he or she is either a passenger or a driver; I also learned that while 1 in 78,000 runners do risk having a heart attack during an endurance race, engaging in intense physical exercise, like running, reduced a person's chance of a heart attack by 50%. I also learned that while the number of cases of assault and rape are higher now than they were 50 years ago, statistically, violent crime has remained static. But if you are a victim of assault or rape, your chances of your assailant being someone you know are 84%.

So, is the runner's risk of being assaulted like the elusive urban myth of razor blades in Halloween candy? ("Time" just had an article about parenting fears and the magazine reported that there has never been a recorded report of poisoned or tainted Halloween candy. Never-ever. Oh, and a child's risk of being kidnapped is 1 in 1.5 million; whereas, a child's chances of being killed in a car accident are 1 in 6,668.) I'm not sure. Certainly violent crime with runners as victims does exist, but we run risks by doing nearly everything. Even remaining inactive by staying inside and sitting on a safe couch gives us the fairly high risk of becoming obese and dying of heart disease or diabetes.

So, in the end, certainly it's wise to take head of basic safety precautions (we all wear seat belts, right?), but as is the case with most fears: We can't let them imprison us.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Saturday Morning 8 Miler

This morning, I got up at 4 am in order to be out the door by 4:45 (my previous 30 minute pre-run routine now takes me close to 45 minutes -- I'm getting slower!) for my planned 8 miler. I wanted to be back before Norah got up, and she generally wakes up somewhere between 6 and 6:30, so I had a tight window of time to work with.

The run went well -- it was nice and cool out in the dark of pre-dawn -- with the exception of the fact that I again forgot water (and this time, I even set a water bottle out on the kitchen counter so I'd remember and I still forgot it!). I finished it in 1:25:27, for an average pace of 10:48/mile, and I was back inside the house by 6:15. Just in time to hear Norah grunting and moving around in her crib. Granted, I didn't have time to shower before tending to her, which means she got a sweaty boob, but she didn't seem to mind.

This afternoon I am off to see New Moon with the chicas, so I'd best be off! Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Jibber-Jabber

Thanks for the advice/comments about the clogged milk duct; it's good to know you guys are so invested in my boob's health!

And BTW, it cleared up just fine. I was kinda hoping there would be some kind of satisfying feeling like when you plunge a toilet and you hear that "thwop!" and then the water just drains away; instead, the pain and swelling decreased overnight, and then this morning as Norah was nursing, it just suddenly felt completely normal again. So, its un-clogging was rather anti-climatic.

So, with normal feeling boobs again, I think I will get a short run in this evening when I get home from work, and then tomorrow morning, I would like to do something long-ish. I was thinking 8-9 miles, but we'll see what the morning holds.

Also, I registered today for the Turkey Trot 5K on Thanksgiving! I can't wait. I seriously love this race, and this will be my 5th year running it!

In general, I am SO looking forward to next week: Short work week, Jerry and I's anniversary on Wednesday, Turkey Trot and Thanksgiving on Thursday, and then on Friday, we plan to decorate the house for Christmas! Ack! So much to look forward to!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dr Apts, Flu Shots and Clogged Boobs

I like this picture. It seems as if she's thinking, "Seriously, Mom? Seriously?" Norah had her 3 month check up today and here are her stats:

Height: 24 inches (so she grew another inch)
Weight: 13 lbs 2 oz (so she gained about a pound and a half)

Both her height and weight are just slightly above average (both were 60th percentiles of some kind -- I don't remember exact numbers, percentiles don't mean much to me). In general, she continues to be a healthy girl, and is on track for her developmental milestones. So, really, there wasn't much to report from the doctor visit, which is good. She got two more vaccines, so two more shots that I couldn't bear to watch, but she just cried for a moment, and was a real trooper about them.

After her doctor appointment, Jerry and I had appointments to get our flu shots. I've never had a flu shot before, but it's recommended if you have a child under 6 months (since they can't get one), so I bit the bullet and took the needle in the arm. It wasn't so bad.

So it was a busy morning before dropping her off at DC and heading to work.

On the running front, I didn't run this morning even though I had originally intended to. I woke up with what I believe is a clogged milk duct, so I have a painful lump in my left breast, and I figured that running would probably aggravate that. I'm treating the clogged duct as best as I know how from what I've read (basically two principles: apply heat and pump or feed as often as possible), so I hope it un-clogs soon enough. It hurts.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Run, Run Wednesday

I got up early this morning for my run, and I feel like I've been "running" ever since -- phew another busy day! It broke down like so:
  • Got up at 4:45 and went through my normal pre-run routine and then headed out the door at 5:20 for my run.
  • Ran my 3 miles in 31:45, which has got to be one of my faster morning runs to date.
  • Showered.
  • Fed Norah.
  • Played with Norah.
  • Got her dressed; then she, Scooter and I went for our morning walk.
  • Graded papers while she played in her activity gym.
  • Then, you can pretty much recycle the following activities throughout the morning: feed Norah, change Norah, play with her.
  • She took a (too) brief nap, and while she slept, I read more papers.
  • Before we left, Scooter threw up on the bed. Again. He did this on Sunday as well, and I don't know if something is the matter with him or what, but I was a bit peeved with both his timing and his target because with just 15 minutes before I had intended to walk out the door, I had to strip the bed's sheets and start laundry.
  • Drop Norah off at daycare.
  • Go to school.
  • Grade papers during my office hour.
  • Teach class.
  • Grade a few last papers in my office.
  • On my way home: Stop to get gas, stop at ATM, stop at cleaners.
  • Get home: Put Norah to bed, make dinner, empty dishwasher, continue laundry cycle that I started before leaving for work and which Jerry had picked up when he got home, take out recycling, play with Scooter, eat dinner.
  • Finished laundry and made bed with puke-free sheets.
  • Now, it's 7:38 and I am finally sitting down to a moment to myself.

The plan for the rest of the evening? I think at 8, I am gonna crack open a much-needed beer and veg out in front of the TV: I could use the light humor of a mindless barrage of sitcoms.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Requests for Scooter Pic Fulfilled

Some of you have been asking about Scooter and have requested pics of Scooter, as you feel that he has been neglected here on the blog since Norah's arrival. Don't worry, you're not alone. Scooter also feels he has been unjustifiably neglected.

Scooter is nothing but curious about Norah herself, and he's hugely tolerant of her attempts to reach out and pet him, which mostly means she jabs at his general direction; however, he is extremely jealous of the attention Jerry and I pay her. Keep in mind that we play with Scooter just as much, if not more, as we did before Norah joined our family, but he just can't help himself: He was numero uno before she intruded on that. Thankfully, his jealousy just translates into neediness, not aggression.

We keep assuring him that with time, he's gonna love having her around -- especially once she's big enough to eat, and drop, solid food. My guess is that he will be her constant companion then. Plus, we're hoping that one day when she's older and she's big enough for us to convert her crib to a toddler bed, he'll move in there to sleep with her. For now, he remains with Jerry and I, and of the 3 of us, he's usually the last to rise in the morning: This look seems to say, "What the heck are you people doing up?"

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday Morning Run

This morning at 5:30, it was only 58 degrees here, which for me makes for a brisk start for my run, but don't get me wrong: I think 58 is a perfect temp to run in -- cool enough that the air feels comfortable, but warm enough that I can still go out in shorts and sports bra. So, with a cool temp and fresh legs, my run felt really good this morning despite the fact that it was not fast (the 3 miles took me 33 minutes), and I have to admit that I'm kinda liking the early AM run these days.

Granted, it's still tough as hell to be motivated at that ungodly hour, but running through the darkened neighborhood so early in the morning carries a strange sense of satisfaction with it: With so little traffic and virtually no other pedestrians out, it feels like I'm the only person awake then. Plus, I usually have enough time when I get home to shower and have a quick breakfast before Norah wakes up, so it helps to know that the run is entirely "my" time and it doesn't intrude on my family at all.

Of course, I can wax poetic about morning running right now, when it's done for the day, but if you ask me tomorrow morning at 4:50 how much I like it, I might tell you to shove something up your ass.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

KBLHR 10K Race Report

Pre-Race
I got up at 5:15 and got myself ready, then I got Norah up and got her ready, and she, Jerry and I left the house around 6 am. Key Biscayne is a small island in Miami's Biscayne Bay, so it's about an hour's drive from our house. We got there a little after 7, and while Jerry tended to Norah, I went and got my race bib and timing chip, and went about the few pre-race standards, like lining up for the bathroom.

But, because Norah was along, there was one other pre-race necessity: Feed her. So, back in the car, I nursed her, and our timing was perfect: She ate and gave me about 10 minutes to spare before the race start. Here she is pre-race (bundled up because it was a "chilly" 60 degrees out -- one lady congratulated us on bringing the baby out and "braving the cold"): And here she and I are together pre-race; she's still in her jammies:
Race
The 5K and 10K started simultaneously at 7:45, which means that for the first mile, there was the usual congestive nonsense that seems to go hand-in-hand with a 5K: Children, walkers, and those unfamiliar with race ettiquette. But, a little past the conclusion of the first mile, the 10K course and 5K course split off from one another, and the crowd thinned out considerably.

Key Biscayne is mostly a state park, but it also consists of Key Biscayne Village, which is the residential half of the island and that consists of large, multi-million dollar mansions. So, the course wound out of the park and through these neighborhoods, so I was busy oggling the beautiful homes and their picturesque landscaping.

While it had been cool at the race's start, it quickly warmed to a comfortable 70 degrees, and it was sunny, clear, and there was a light breeze. Perfect running weather. So, I just ran at what was a comfortable pace, and enjoyed the views and the weather. The end of the race brought us back into the state park, and we ran the last mile along the ocean, so there were some scenic views there as well.

As I passed the 6 mile marker, the finish line came into sight, and soon thereafter I saw Jerry and Norah. Jerry was waving and holding Norah, who was smiling at every racer who went by her. Really, having them both there at the finish was one of the best feelings ever!

I crossed the finish line in 1:05:20. 20 seconds slower than I would have liked, but I honestly didn't mind. I ran a pretty consistent 10:25 pace, and if I hadn't done so much swerving in that first mile, I probably would have nailed that 1:05 goal.


Post-Race
Yes, I grabbed a beer.

But, I didn't end up drinking too much of it. I guess beer at 9 am is just not for me. Who knew? So, I passed on the unfinished beer to Jerry and drank a water instead.

Afterward, I tended to those typical post-race needs (bathrooms, ditch the shoes, change shirts, etc) and by then, Norah had conked out. Jerry reported that she seemed to enjoy the whole race atmosphere and that she'd been busy watching all the people and smiling at all those who stopped to tell her how cute she was. They also took some time to go down to the beach so Jerry could dip her toes into the Atlantic, so she was pretty tired by the time we were ready to head out.

She slept in the car on the way home, and we decided to stop at Denny's for a big breakfast. She smiled at all the old people in Denny's while Jerry and I gorged on our Grand Slams, and then we all headed home.

All in all, it was a fun, scenic race for my first race back, and it was a great morning with my family!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Cool Weather and Goals for Tomorrow's 10K

The past few days have blown in some cool, comfortable weather for us here in South Florida, and this morning, it was cool enough to warrant a sweatshirt for Norah when we went on our morning walk with Scooter: This cool weather bodes well for my potential 10K performance tomorrow, so I hope it stays.

And, this brings me to my Declaration of Race Intentions for the Key Biscayne Lighthouse 10K, which shall also be known as Jess' First Race Post Partum!
  • Pie in the Sky Goal: Beat my previous 10K PR. This is really unlikely to happen. Even though my previous PR of 1:01:25 is not anything fabulous, it would still require me to run a 9:52/mile pace, and based on my recent training runs, that's probably not gonna happen. However, you never know. Cool conditions combined with race day excitement could provide me with the right environment and motivation to push myself beyond my current comfort zone.
  • Realistic Goal: Finish in 1:05. This would be a 10:27/mile pace, and that's about what I've been able to run lately. If I finished with this time, I'd be very pleased.
  • Worst Case Scenario Goal: Finish the race before the time cut off of 1:20. The race directions are very clear: Anyone who finishes after this time is disqualified and will be taken out back and pistol whipped. Well...maybe not that last part, but the instructions are so emphatic about the course closing at an hour twenty that you'd think pistol whipping really would be on race directors' minds. A 1:20 finish is a 12:51/mile pace, so I think I can be consistently faster than that, but with such restrictions, walk breaks won't be an option.

So, with goals in mind and race apparel already set out, I think I'm ready for tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thursday's This and That

Yesterday was nice to have off. I got my hairs cut: Decided to keep it shoulder length so I could still pull it back in a pony tail, but the stylist cut off about 4 inches, so it feels fresh and a bit more stylish now.

I also got a start on some of my Christmas shopping, and while I did shop for myself as well, I found nothing. I wanted to buy some new clothes (since the last new clothes I bought for myself were maternity clothes!), but I couldn't find anything I liked or that really worked. Shopping at this time of year in FL kinda sucks because everything in the stores in winter-oriented, and while I'd love to buy a heap of cuddly sweaters, when am I gonna wear 'em?

Anyway, it was nice to have the afternoon to myself yesterday.

Today it's back to the "grind," and I was up again at dawn for another AM 3 miler, and it was actually pleasantly cool out this morning, so the run was nice, and I got it done in 31:23 -- a bit faster than normal.

The day off in the middle of week is kinda nice because it breaks up the week, but it's also kinda weird because I don't feel as though I should be returning to work today.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day Vacation

I have the day off today, but I still got up at dawn for an early AM 3 miler. The weather felt comfortable this morning, and it was a nice run; I got it done in 32:53.

As for the rest of my day, I plan on taking Norah to daycare this afternoon so I can go get my hair cut and run a few errands. Initially, I had planned on staying home with her all day, but then I figured: We pay for daycare whether she goes or not so I might as well take advantage of the child care for a few hours! I'm looking forward to the few hours to myself, and it's gonna be a luxury to do some shopping without an infant in tow.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Three Months

Today, Norah is 3 months old!

She continues to be a sweet, easy-going girl who sleeps solidly, eats well, and smiles a lot!

And, she's growing stronger and getting more active all the time. She still hates tummy time, but she has a strong neck so she's able to hold herself up off the floor pretty well. She also can sit well when she's propped up or in her Bumbo chair, and I think she likes this new perspective. She also grabs at objects, especially at all of her "friends" in her activity gym and she pulls them toward her -- specifically, she wants to put them in her mouth. In fact, one of her major changes in the past month is the increase in drool and her desire to stuff her whole fist in her mouth. The downside to the grabbing is that now she inadvertently grabs my hair and yanks on it, and I think I will soon have to watch what jewelry I wear.

Of course, the biggest thing in this month was my start back to work and her start at daycare, and even though the transition was hard for me, she adjusted effortlessly. And now that we've had a few weeks of this new schedule, I think it's going smoothly.

Last parental thought: Even though I delight in each new milestone, and I love seeing her personality continue to emerge, I already feel as though the time is going too fast. It gives my heart a little pang to know that she's no longer that small, inert bundle that we brought home from the hospital 3 months ago. I love seeing her grow and develop and discover new aspects to her world, but at the same time, it's tough because I know that each step forward for her means a step away from me.

And typing that business in the paragraph above (and then taking a minute to cry about it) makes me realize how much I've changed in these 3 months. Granted, I knew, in theory, that parenthood would change me, but I really had no idea how substantial that change would be.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Seven Mile Sunday

This morning's 7 miler didn't go that great. First of all, I forgot to hit "start" on the Garmin, and I didn't notice until I was over a mile into the run; then, I didn't bring water with me because I was counting on drinking from a water fountain that's located in the park I run through, but when I got there, I discovered that the water fountain had been torn out. So, no water at all for 7 miles, and it was pretty warm out there. By the end, I was VERY thirsty.

But however sucky the run was, I still got it done, and when I got home, I showered and got to snuggle my "Bug," who was in a smiley, happy mood. Plus, Jerry actually dressed her in clothes this morning!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Christmas Wishlist

I don't have class on Fridays; instead, I have office hours which are supposed to be my designated time to "get papers graded," but today has been time to "surf the internet for running stuff."

In my defense, this is almost a requirement at this point since I have my mom, Jerry's mom, and Jerry all hounding me for a Christmas list, and so far, I have zilch for that list. And "diapers" were rejected from "my" list.

So, I figured that I always need/want running stuff, but I need a little help: I can't quite remember the cool things you guys are always mentioning that I covet. So, this is the list I have going so far and I need help adding to it. Tell me one of your favorite running items so I can go see if I need to make that one of my favorites as well. Keep in mind I don't need winter-running gear/apparel, but otherwise, I could use a variety of running-related gifts, so what would you add to the follow list?

1. Shoes (I just bought a new pair, but it just makes good, economical sense to get your mom to buy you one pair each year)
2. Handheld water bottle
3. Compression socks (where in the heck did those of you who have these in pink find them?)
4. Socks

And...that's as far as I got.

I don't really need more shorts and sports bras, so they're not on here for a reason. Any more of those, and I will need to put another dresser on my x-mas list too!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Best Part of Morning Running

Even though it was only 71 degrees out at 5:30 this morning, the humidity was at a whopping 98% (it rained most of the night last night), so my 3 miler felt as though I was treading water instead of running. And by the end, I was sweat drenched and may as well have been swimming.

But aside from the high humidity, it was a good run, and I have to say that while most people tout morning running's greatest aspect as getting it done first thing in the day, I would have to say that the best part of morning running is the attitude of superiority that I get to adopt because I get it done first thing in the day.

See, if you and I were to be in the middle of a casual conversation, I could ask you: "What were you doing this morning at 5:30 AM?" And you would be like, "Sleeping." And my snotty, self-satisfied remark could take many shapes but would probably be something close to this: "Huh. Well that sounds like a waste of time. I was up and out on the streets running. I guess I just take my health more seriously."

Now, if only I could arrange opportunites for conversations to open up to the above possibility. Otherwise, my superiority at having risen early and ran before sunrise is for not. I mean, if I can't brag about it, what good is it?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Good Enough

This morning was my first run in almost a week.

I hadn't run since last Thursday, that crappy run I had before I was struck down by the God of Vomit and Mud Butt, and to be honest, I really wasn't in the mood to run this morning, but I figured I needed to get back to it. So I got up at 5 am and ran 2 miles. Usually I don't run anything shorter than 3 miles, but like I said, I really was in no mood, so I figured 2 miles were "good enough."

As expected, those 2 miles were a little slow (and it didn't help that it is 91% humidity out there right now), but they did feel good toward the end, and ultimately, they served their purpose for simply getting me out there.

But, I hear Norah grunting and stirring now, so I'd best be off to tend to the babe. Enjoy your hump day, everyone!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Post #1500

That's right, this is post #1500.

Knowing that this number was approaching, I was wracking my brain trying to come up with some kind of special way to celebrate the number, but really, I'll be honest: I feel as though I've done it all before. So, post #1500, you are duly noted, but sorry, no special look back at favorite posts, no pictorial of the past years, no giveaway offers to my loyal readers. Today, you're just one of 1,449 other posts in which I have yammered on about this and that.

So, here's the "this and that":

I didn't run this morning for two reasons: One, I felt I needed one more day's worth of recovery after being sick before expending the energy on running. Seriously, that was one nasty sickness I had, and it lasted a full 48 hours, so I think a full 48 hour recovery is wise. My second reason for not running this morning was that I guessed that the time change was gonna mess with Norah's sleep schedule and I was right. She was up at 6 am instead of 7. Getting her sleep re-aligned with the time change is gonna be a bitch this week. Any tips from other parents?

And, because I know you love some good Norah pics, here she is in her Godzilla onesie that Jerry bought her when she was a mere fetus: And, I think it inspired her to "Rahhhr" like Godzilla too, so here she is doing her best Godzilla impression:
Be afraid, tiny people. Be afraid.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Norah's 1st Halloween

Even though I felt like ass yesterday, I still mustered up some energy in the late afternoon to participate in Norah's 1st Halloween. She got dressed up, we carved a pumpkin, and we got candy ready for trick or treaters that we never get.

So, without further ado, here she is in full hot dog regalia:She looks pretty squished in there when I'm holding her:
She tolerates Jerry and I pretty well:
Lastly, here she is next to "her" pumpkin; she did an excellent carving job for one so wee, don't you think?
I'm feeling much better today. Still not 100%, but way better than yesterday and the day before. I'm hoping that with another day's recuperation, I'll be back to full functioning capacity by tomorrow. Just in time to enjoy...work.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Still Sick

Even though I thought I was feeling better yesterday afternoon, I spoke too soon. The puking and diarrhea resumed and continued through another rough night, so by this morning, I felt completely wiped out. At this point, I'm really not sure what I have, but actually hope it is food poisoning because I do NOT want to pass this along to either Norah or Jerry.

Unfortunately, this means we cancelled our Halloween party plans, and right now I'm just focusing on trying to hydrate and keep both food and liquids in me. So far, I have had some luck this morning with saltines, a banana, and some diluted Gatorade; cross your fingers it all stays down.

Hope everyone else enjoys a fun-filled Halloween!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Flu Friday

My case of "drag ass" yesterday turned out to actually be a stomach flu. I felt worse and worse as the day progressed, and by the time I went to bed last night I had a fever and was nauseous.

The barfing started around 1 am and continued through the night and early morning; then the 'rhea kicked in and I didn't know which end to put on the toilet. It was awful.

All day today, I have essentially been a pile of dehydrated goo, unable to keep anything down until late this afternoon. Thankfully, Jerry took the day off work so he could take care of Norah this morning, and this afternoon, he took her to DC.

I don't think I've been sick like this in years. Ughhhh...

Hopefully I feel better tomorrow for Halloween festivities. Which I think I will. I'm able to keep down Ramen and Ginger Ale now. Woo-hoo!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Case of Drag Ass

Everything about my run this morning indicates that I am suffering from a confirmed case of "Drag Ass." It's a real affliction. I swear. In fact, the Physician's Desk Reference has an entry for it:

A mental and physical inability to respond to necessity or demand. Those suffering from this condition may feel as though they are moving in slow motion, and despite being aware of their limited mobility and muted mental acuity, they are unable to improve upon either. Frequent sufferers of this condition include college students, those in their mid-20s who are often recovering from "last night at the bar," and those who are new parents.

See? It's real. And you can't prove otherwise.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tuesday's Total Body in Ten

I got this video back in, oh, January or so, and I never even so much as ripped off the cellophane because...I was pregnant? Is that an excuse? Not really. But either way, I had never even opened this DVD before this morning; instead, it was just sitting on the shelf gathering dust for nearly 10 months.

Today is a running rest day, but this morning, Norah took an unusually long morning nap. So, after taking care of the necessary tasks (ie, reading blogs), I decided I had 10 minutes to spare to test out this video.

It has 4 10 minute segments, and each focuses on a different fitness aspect: cardio, upper body, lower body, and balance/flexibility. The DVD is set up so you could combine all 4 workouts into one 40 minute session, or you can break them up and just do the 10 minute segments.

Unsure of how long Norah would nap for, and not being particularly fond of workout videos to begin with, I opted to just stick with a 10 minute segment: upper body.

My upper body is seriously lacking in strength, and my little t-rex arms are only capable of the kind of hoisting and toting that is required to carry a baby around, so I figured this area is ripe for improvement.

The 10 minute workout had me doing everything from bicep curls to push ups in order to work the arms, chest and upper back, and even though it was only 10 minutes, I was spent afterward, and I can already tell that the arms are gonna be sore tomorrow. Personally, I thought it was a good mini-workout and perfect for a person like me who isn't that fond of strength training: 10 minutes was enough time to make me feel as though I worked some muscles but not too long so that I was bored with it.

Granted, the woman who leads the exercises has the disconcerting duplicity of porn star nails mixed with man arms, but the exercises themselves were good, and overall, I liked the program. Next time, I guess I'll have to test out one of the other 4 sections.

I'll probably get around to that sometime in mid-2010.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Monday Morning Q & A

Just as when I was pregnant and running, I am receiving lots of questions via your comments and email about now when I am breastfeeding and running, so I felt I should address some of these thoughts and questions. Apologies to the male readers if this has no appeal to you. However, it does involve the talk of "boobs," so maybe you do want to stick around.

Does running with nursing boobs hurt? Do you wear a special nursing sports bra?
I imagine it would hurt within the first week or two of breastfeeding, when the boobs get engorged and the nipples are sore, but I wasn't running then, so I can't comment on that. I began running again at 5 weeks post partum and by then, my breasts and nipples were used to the feeding, so I have never experienced any pain by running and continuing to breastfeed.

But, I do always pump beforehand, or if I run later in the day, I try to time the run right after Norah has fed, so that either way, I don't have full breasts when I set out for a run.

I do not use a special nursing sports bra. I wear my regular sports bras and they seem to work just fine, but there are special ones out there, and some doctors even advise women to double up on sports bras (I find this latter advice a little out-dated, but whatever works). I think the sports bra you choose would be partially dependent on your bra needs to begin with; the logic is simple: If you have especially large sweater bunnies to begin with, nursing is only gonna make 'em bigger, so keep that in mind.

How much do you eat and drink?
Personally, I have never been a calorie counter, so I can't say with any accuracy how many calories I consume a day, but it's probably a lot. Most literature advises breastfeeding moms to continue to eat as though they are pregnant since the extra calories are needed for milk production. Add to that the calories you expend during exercise, and a breastfeeding woman who is exercising probably needs at least 500-600 extra calories a day. But that's just a guess, and calorie needs would be dependent on how much/how far you're running, and to what extent your infant's needs are for breastmilk.

As far as drinking, basically the same prinicple as eating applies: You need a lot of fluid to produce milk; plus, you need additional fluids to replace those you sweat out. So, to be simple: Drink a lot of water. I drink about 100 oz of water a day. Plus, I have two cups of coffee in the morning, a glass or two of milk a day, and sometimes the occassional diet Sprite (oh, and the occassional beer -- you can have one drink and it won't affect your milk). My advice? Have a bottle of water on hand at all times and sip all day long. Just like any athlete thould do -- drink ahead of your thirst.

You're breastfeeding and running, you must be back to your pre-preggo weight already!
Nope. I'm not. I have about 4 lbs left to lose.

Despite the fact that I'm burning lots of calories with both breastfeeding and running, I am also consuming a lot. Many of you have probably trained for a marathon and gained weight, right? So you know that simply exercising is only one part of weight loss. But, I'm not particularly concerned with losing the remaining 4 lbs; I know it will happen gradually and I'm not in a hurry. My biggest concern is making sure I remain healthy and that my body has enough energy and calories to continue to produce milk, so if I hang onto a few extra pounds for awhile, it's okay.

Doesn't exercising while breastfeeding make your milk "sour"?
Nonsense. There have been lots of studies on this and the scientific conclusion is that ideas such as that one are hooey.

Any advice for a mom who is breastfeeding and thinking of returning to running?
I am no expert, and can only speak from personal experience, but I would say that my advice would be the same as anyone beginning to run: Eat plenty, hydrate, and get plenty of sleep. The last is probably most often overlooked by new mothers, but it is probably one of the biggest things for me. I need my Zzzzzzs. And, I'm lucky because for the past 3 weeks or so, Norah has been sleeping from about 7 pm to 7 am, so I can ensure that I get my full 8 hours a night by going to bed around 8:30 or 9 if I get up and run at 5 am. And truthfully, even on the days when I don't run, I allow myself to sleep until she wakes up around 7, so there are some nights when I too get about 10-11 hours of sleep. And trust me, I need it!

I know there are other breastfeeding, running moms who read this blog, or those who may not presently be doing this, but have done so in the past, so feel free to add to these comments and/or questions!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday Six

This morning, I ran a 6 miler at a pretty consistent pace:

1: 10:28
2: 10:21
3: 10:26
4: 10:33
5: 10:33
6: 10:21

Total Time: 1:02:45

So, I was pleased. And I felt that I justly deserved a McGriddle from McDonald's. Normally, I almost never eat fast food, but for some reason, the McGriddle was calling to me today (and it doesn't help that I passed McDonald's twice on my route), and because the Garmin told me that I burned 800 calories on my run, I felt I deserved the 500 calorie breakfast sandwich. It was delicious.

Lastly, as a funny domestic aside: This morning, when I left for my run, I left Norah in Jerry's care and she was still in her PJs and I told him that he could decide what she was wearing for the day. When I got back, she was just in a diaper. Nothing else.

So, I guess to Jerry, "clothes" = a diaper. I suppose next time I should be a little more specific with my instructions ;)