Thursday, August 13, 2015

back to it and the voices

During my cool down yesterday I thought about why I'm still training. The OTQ marathon is drifting into the realm of impossible. Or has drifted, it was always borderline. I was always far from a sure shot.

Since June, my knee, my calves, my sinuses, my exhaustion, my baby, my time... yada yada all got in the way of training, or even running most days. And I'm not one for excuses, but the obstacles were insurmountable for a good month. Each week another layer. 

Yesterday I did my first workout in weeks. (Since Rock n Roll?) And it felt so good. But as my A goal drifts, I sometimes wonder what I'm doing. Simply? I love training and racing.

But maybe it also boils down a broader human condition, the two prominent voices in my head at all times. Whether they are talking about me as a mother, wife or friend, or talking about my career, or even running they are always saying...

You are capable of big things. You are irreparably flawed. 

Both push me in different ways. They balance each other on the best days. Although I wouldn't be worse off for listening to that first voice a little more than I do. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

ready or not, it's race time

I signed up for the Rock n Roll Seattle Half Marathon a few months ago. It's my first A race since Chicago 2013. And training has been very different than in the past. I can explain it best like this:
In case you couldn't tell these are handdrawn I added the pen
I'm training 5 days a week. One workout, one long run, two rest days. All the moms out there will just want to shake me* when I say it... but still not sleeping more than 4 hours a time 99% of my nights. (*Moms will want to shake me because a. duh, get over it none of us are sleeping either or b. duh, get that sh*t under control and sleep train like a boss)

That was a lot of number talk. Basically I'll have a couple decent weeks, then a really good week that gets me so fired up and then abruptly eat doo doo for a week, and repeat.

So that's running...let's talk racing! 

5k: February 14th \ Love 'Em or Leave 'Em \ 19:01
5k: April 18th \ B.A.A. 5k \ 18:14
10k: tomorrow May 30th \ Brooks Trailhead 10k
Half Marathon: June 13th \ Seattle RnR Half

Being me, I have unreasonable race expectations that I'm reigning in. I'm reminding myself these are just steps on my journey. And I'm running. Which is the real goal and accomplishment right now. It seemed so far out of reach 3 months ago.

"Don't try to rush progress. Remember - a step forward, no matter how small, is a step in the right direction. Keep believing." Kara Goucher

Yes, this is how I look during all my runs.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

boil the frog

Last week I did my first track workout. Thanks coach Steph!

I'm notoriously horrible at any and all track work. And races. Except for my brief days dominating the 2 mile as an awkward tween. Made Nationals, baby! Won that third heat! You want my autograph, I know it. Annnnyway, just the thought of track work keeps me up at night in a cold sweat.
awkward mac tween - dual meet - somewhere in western mass

Why? I don't know 100% why, but I think 99% is my hatred and refusal (inability) to deal with "math" and "numbers" and 8.2% is the pressure of precision.  Either way, I'm a total stress ball.

My workout was 1000, 800, 600, 400 (1/2 marathon pace, 10k pace, 5k pace, mile pace) x2 with 2 minutes rest between each rep and 3 minutes rest between each set. NBD. But of course I'm frozen with ... what should my 100 be? and 200? And is that the line for 100? Until I'm oxygen deprived and just like aaargh.

Anyway, I did it! I accidentally kicked off my second set with a 600 at 1/2 marathon pace (face palm) and had to re-do it. And by that make up 1000m all I could think was, this is just a "boil the frog workout", "burn froggy burn." Which naturally led to singing (in my head, I think) "this frog is on fiiiiire" (a la Alicia Keys, This Girl is on Fire).

But damn, this frog *is* on fire! And this comeback is on! I have an entry to Rock n Roll Seattle on June 13 and I'm aiming hard, but also trying to keep all the other balls in the air. Work, PJ, husband, eating something other than 3 cookies for lunch...

Sunday, February 22, 2015

six months

I'm starting this post two days before Penelope actually turns 6 months in the feeble hope that I might finish sometime before she turns 7 months. Right now I'm standing bouncing in my kitchen, wearing her in the Ergo, nap hood up... listening to her make little wake up noises. Oh she's up.

oh hey! were you doing something?
On her six week 'birthday' I wrote that I knew 'some stuff'. Now at six months, I know a little bit more. About Penelope. Not babies in general. It dawned on me during my run the other day that she's not me or Owen or anyone I know, she's a tiny stranger. And we have this opportunity to get to know her. Every day she shows us a little bit more of her personality and I fall in love with every little clue.

She's been super expressive since day one, and it's only getting better. She makes the best faces. Sometimes she does the slow turn to look at you and with this sassy "...the hell?" expression. The best. She can also drop an eyebrow and lift the other. But her face 80% of the time is in a giant mouth open smile.
Avocados are the best!
If she's excited (and it doesn't take much) her entire body shakes and her mouth opens as wide as it will go. She emits no sound, just silent scream/shakes. Like when you laugh so hard no sound comes out anymore, just tears. Her real laugh appeared one day when I tried to get her to jump. I'd jump and yell jump. She thought that was hilarious.  But she'll rarely laugh at the same thing twice, you have to impress her with new material.

She is not a great sleeper. Her mind is busy and she needs to make sure I'm still out there. Last night she was inconsolable from 9pm - midnight unless she had her face nuzzled in neck. I finally tucked her in our bed, she feel asleep with both hands on my face. You can guess how well I slept. But darn if she isn't the cutest.

My training is finally rolling. Nothing like my previous training before Penelope, but I'm learning to appreciate it for what it is. And I wouldn't be running if it weren't for Stephanie Bruce. When she came out to Seattle in December she was like, what's your excuse? (In so many words). And she handed me a schedule, but it felt like so much more. It's like she gave me the permission I didn't know I was waiting for. To run long. To run fast. She reminded me that I could be accountable. That I could commit to a schedule, but also remain flexible. That I could decide, obstacle or excuse?
second 10 miler, hip cape courtesy of my friend dave
During my run yesterday I had a realization... I still don't fully trust my body. After my birth plan evaporated in front of my eyes and instead of a spiritual, warrior goddess birthing experience I had a long, detached, medicated march to an unplanned c-section I lost faith in my capabilities. But more than just losing faith in my ability to give birth, I lost faith in myself in general. In my physical and mental strength.

I didn't realize I was still fighting the words "failure" and "inadequate". I had always believed myself to be strong and powerful and after those days trying to have my baby and "failing", I didn't believe that anymore.  I was timid and began to talk down about my body. I questioned what I could do.

This was clear after the Love 'Em or Leave 'Em 5k. We stood on the starting line and as they counted down 10-9-8-... I remembered what it was like to believe. I felt the darkness lift from my mind and let my feet and legs and body run. I believed in my body. I breathed out the word calm. I made targets and chased them. I reminded myself to keep strong form. I raced like I used to. It felt so foreign that I kept returning to the race in my mind, and although it wasn't a PR by any means (and nearly 2 minutes slower than I'd raced the course) it was a turning point. I felt proud and secure in my body for the first time in a long time.

I've been training with Stephanie for seven weeks and I'm so grateful she took me under her wing. She's an amazing coach and mentor. Watching her shows me what's possible. Watching Lauren Fleshman shows me what's possible. Watching Erica Sara shows me what's possible. Watching Sally and Lesko and my SIL's Jane and Anna and my mother.

Life is the best it's ever been and the hardest it's ever been. I wake up spinning after a night where I soothed Penelope down 3, 4, 5, 6 times. I still haven't slept more than 4 hours in a chunk in six months, most nights it's 2 hours at a time. There are days I wonder if I can do it. And then I do. Because I know it's possible because I have women who show me. 


For the record this blog post took me 7 days to write. Currently I can hear her chanting 'mam-mama-mam..." instead of napping in her crib. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

how did i get here?

Have you noticed a trend? Running blog... pregnant running birth about comeback silence...poof. I knew in the list of things that would be left on the roadside while this circus car screamed down the road the starfish blog would be first.

I didn't expect running to take such a backseat. Or how I'd hold on to life by the edges at 3pm, so tired I could vomit. I didn't know we still wouldn't be sleeping. I didn't know how much I could love the tiny mouth that needs make sure I'm still here 6 times a night. I didn't know anything! 

Three weeks ago I went back to Oiselle full time. A full time job and a 15 week old. Sounds pretty do-able on paper. But I can count on one hand how many times I've slept more than 3 hours at a time in the last 15 weeks. And it's not just the lack of sleep it's the way it's lacking. Every night I lay a little bundle down to sleep and she might sleep 45 minutes, or an hour or four hours. But there is no way to know. Then she wakes and I must put her back down, again, like a little alarm set to an unknown time. And again and again, until the sun is rising and it's time for us to get up and meet another day.
Get on up

She talks us both awake at 6:50a. She moves her head to butt into mine because her hands are in her swaddle. Then I'm awake staring into her tiny smiling face. She's usually in bed next to me because I gave up trying to put her back down after a 4am feeding. And sleepily feed her in bed the last (couple) times. I unwrap her swaddle and pow, both hands up. She has a long stretching routine, and I lay next to her and try not to barf with exhaustion. And every morning I'm amazed at how cute she is. I take a few pics and send them to Owen who left an hour ago for the bus. Then I pick her up and sing 'What time is it? D-d-d-diaper time' Always Sunny style ... because it's diaper time.

I get ready, get her ready, make coffee, breakfast, my lunch, feed her and usually put her down for her first nap all before I leave for work. I prop her here and the bed, in her rock n play, and we talk and talk. The nanny and her little boy show up at 8:45am and I run out the door to work.
Got enough toys?

I live less than 1/2 mile from the office. I walk. She comes down with the nanny once to eat and I go home once to feed her (on a good day). And pump in-between or when we can't make the eat meet up work. I love seeing her during the day. She barely eats some meet ups because she can't stop talking to me. Ahh I can't wait until we speak the same language. 
Office visit

Owen is home at 4:30pm and I'm home at 6pm. We play with PJ, attempt dinner and then I usually go to bed with her at the un-adult hour of 7:30pm. Because I'm exhausted and like I said, I just never know what the night will bring.
After work chats

Running. Hmm. Yeah. I do run, I still love it and the feeling of getting stronger. But I only have a few hours with the bug I love so much, and it's hard to use time to run. I'm figuring it out, this new life as a working mom. Yesterday I ran at lunch with Katie. Some nights I run a couple miles for sanity. I run as fast as I can. Once she starts a little better sleep, I'll run after she goes down. And after the winter we can run together with the jogger. Right now, the name of the game is love the baby and hold on tight.

Friday, October 17, 2014

week one + two - baby back

The word postpartum bums me out so these updates will be called 'Baby Back'. The first week 'back' was solid. The second a bit of a slide. Not only with doing work, but also tracking it. I will say, other than the days with an 'x', I did my diastasis recti repair work every day. That's a big win.
My hips and knees complain about pretty much all movement. Hope they start cooperating soon.

Week One (9/29 - 10/5)
6 wk checkup,
2.9mi run/walk
45 minute walk x AM: 5mi walk
PM: 1.5mi walk, .5mi run
2.5mi run/
2mi walk
? 3.3mi run

Week Two (10/6 - 10/12)
? 2.7mi run COLORADO
Travel Day

Stationary Bike - 12mi
Elliptical - :20minutes
Treadmill - 1.7mi run     
x                   x               x               

cruising through DIA at 11pm, baby PJ in backup PJs after blowing it out during boarding
sweater weather baby!
 My training went a bit off the rails during our trip to Colorado. I did cross train at the Stanley Hotel on Thursday, but Friday and Saturday I just concentrated on being a decent maid-of-honor at my friend's wedding and a decent mom. Yes, decent on both accounts because I just couldn't be stellar at both. ;) Nothing like putting my baby to nap one room over from 6 girls champagne-ing their way through hair and makeup or self expressing minutes before the ceremony to make me feel like mom of the year. Or asking 'how late it was' at 8:30pm to make me feel like a great bridesmaid. 

But PJ did just great away from me. My parents flew in from Massachusetts to be her personal nanny team. And Owen and I had our first (3!) nights out. I even had a couple glasses of wine at the wedding since one adorable baby decided she was cool with a bottle.

not a bad view for cross training
earning my keep as MOH

Overall our first big adventure was great and Penny was an easy travel companion. She slept like a champ in cars and planes. The only bummer of the trip was it rained every day except the wedding so Owen has yet to actually see the Rocky Mountains. But we'll be back one day, I'd love to show PJ and him around the state I called home twice.