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.

Friday, October 3, 2014

penelope at six weeks - i know some stuff!

I have to admit something. It's dark and twisted. When I saw friends on maternity leave I thought, "how relaxing". Yes, I know, sick. I pictured them in a clean, fluffy house, cuddling a serene little baby. While the baby slept maybe they were journaling about the bliss of motherhood, or baking pumpkin bread while humming lullabies.

That first week with baby, as I loosely clung to life, I wanted to call and apologize to every mother I knew for ever considering motherhood as 'easy'.

Before she arrived everyone warned, it's hard. And I found that offensive. Owen compared this 'advice' to asking about a hike and everyone harping on the shitty parts rather than the views or fresh air. Like, "you'll be exhausted, there will be these rocks and you'll have to climb over them, you're going to get thirsty." They were right, it's hard. But also the views are amazing. Like nothing I've ever seen.

In the last six weeks I learn something new every single day. If you're expecting, or expecting to expect some day I'm not going to tell you 'how tired you'll be', every stranger ever will fill you in on that. They will run up to you to rub it in. (BUT after you have the baby they will run up to tell you to cherish it.) Anyway, here's the stuff I've learned so far. I hope you find it helpful.
six weeks - chatting all day
  • Do not attempt to change a pee diaper in bed to 'save time' in the middle of the night. You will be shit upon. Your sheets, your hand, your baby's jammies...everything will be covered in mustard colored poo. And changing all that bleary eyed at 1am is much worse than walking your ass over to the changing table. 
  • You will eat the majority your meals at a lukewarm temperature, one-handed, standing at the kitchen counter while holding a screaming or coo-ing baby. Coo-ing baby is a preferable dining partner. 
  •  It isn't wrong to notice your nursing baby's head would be the perfect surface to balance your fry's dipping sauce on. It is (probably) wrong to actually act upon this knowledge. 
  • Showering with your baby is the solution to everything (sometimes). You get to shower! They don't smell as much like old milk after! Also babies are like adorable little seal pups when wet. And mine happens to love the water like she was born to the ocean. Win-win-win. 
  • You might look pregnant for a (long) while. Just two weeks ago the Safeway bagger asked me when I was due. Awesome. To avoid this carry or wear your baby at all times.
    • Related: weird 'shaper' underwear is bullshit. Spend that money on something better like ice cream.
  • When your milk comes in you will have rock hard, enormous, porn star boobs. This awesomeness will be overshadowed by the fact that they hurt like hell. And every two hours you will latch a baby onto them who hasn't quite figured out how to nurse. This (often) leads to cracked bleeding nipples. So as you go to feed each time you will cry just a little. Don't worry this gets better within 4-6 days. Hang in there.
  • On that note, everything changes all the time. Don't prepare to get used to anything... good or bad. 
  • And another thing about nursing, one boob can out preform the other. This is great look.
  • You'll find yourself rocking side to side even when you're not carrying/wearing the baby. It'll start to feel more natural than standing still. 
  • Find mom friends. I don't care how. Just find them. Then make sure you talk often.
    sally - the baby whisperer
  • Starbucks is filled with strollers for a reason. It's the perfect sanity trip. You're not out too long, it's walkable, and full of caffeine. Plus it's a great place to pick up mom friends.
  • Seattle to Yakima to taste wine at Owen Roe is not the perfect sanity trip. But it's well worth it. Get out and do big things once in awhile. It's scary at first, but you can do it.
    wine tasting adventure with my brother, round trip over 5 hours..
    first overnight trip - to port angeles with the great noni and tony (owen had to work)
  • The first time you sleep more than 2 hours is heavenly. 5 hours - indescribable. You will try to remember why you ever complained about 'not getting good sleep' before the baby. That proclamation was undoubtedly false. 
  • Laugh. I have never laughed so much with my husband as those first weeks. Even when I cried he made me laugh. We would be sitting in bed at 2am staring at this little face with eyes that wouldn't shut and he'd have me laughing silently to the point of tears by doing a reality show voiceover of the situation. One couple, one tiny baby, no sleep...
    hands up if you love saturday mornings!
  • Sleep deprivation can make everything more hilarious or more devastating than it really is. Choose 'more hilarious' when you can. 
  • While a baby is born little, their farts are fully matured. You'll need to call them out to save people from thinking you have lost fart control during pregnancy and birth.
  • Babies love dance parties! And even if you have always hated your singing voice, they will love it! You are Diana Ross to a baby. They would sign you to their label immediately.
  • Always be snacking. 
  • Having a baby is like having an inappropriate friend constantly screaming "take your top off!!!" in public. Except with a baby, you have to do it. 
  • Baby wearing is awesome. But getting the baby into the Moby or K'tan feels like putting on a wet bathing suit while someone screams in your ear.
  • Don't be afraid to call the doctor. I know there is a note in Penelope's chart that says something like, "extremely reactive first time mother's name is Sarah". I have made an appointment with the full admission it was more for me to hear she was okay. 
  • The first cold they get is terrifying. A baby is already grunty and has trouble breathing. Add a cold to the mix and you won't sleep for two straight nights. You'll be up listening to every little noise. Remember they are fine, you aren't. That's okay. 
  • Nose Frida is the best game. Sucking snot out of your sick baby's nose is indescribably satisfying. Even better after you steam the bathroom up with a warm shower. (Your husband may be repulsed by your snot obsession.)
  • You will love bigger than you ever thought was possible. Even when you are sucking snot out of a tiny nose in a steamy bathroom at 2am. 
At 6 weeks she's so awesome. The first weeks it was mainly sleep, cry, eat, sleep. But a couple weeks ago things changed. When she's awake she chats and chats. Smiles and laughs. It's the best! Even when she's in the back of the car in her seat I miss her and can't wait to see her again. Or like now when she's sleeping in her swing covered in my bathrobe (great new trick I found so I could make breakfast) I can't wait until she wakes up again to hang out. Our time together during maternity leave is going by much too fast suddenly.

one month dancing in chair - photo attempt
We both have a lot to learn about being a baby human and a mom. I'm always ready for advice from those who've been here before. My biggest question right now is will my belly button ever look less like an elephant's knee cap?

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

don't call it a comeback

Actually no, please do. This is totally a comeback.

Sure, I've run up a few hills during an ambitious stroller walk. And yes, on Saturday after another long drive I did a loop or two of the Maple Leaf Park. But yesterday was my first official day off the bench after and 40 weeks of baby carrying and my surprise c-section (I've decided using the word surprise gives it more of a festive tone). 

I had my six week check up with the midwives. And no they didn't give me a dunce cap that said "Midwife Dropout" like I was (half way) expecting. They made sure I wasn't depressed, check. And then did a quick exam. Everything looking good except I have diastasis recti, about three fingers fit between my abs. Crud. My core has always been pretty weak sauce anyway and was on my to-do list. But it was pretty sad/gross to be able to fit half a fist between my ab muscles.
short hike with penelope - hurricane ridge
This is week one, ground 0. I don't have an end in sight. No goal race. What I want is to get as strong and as unbreakable as I can get. To build a solid foundation. Of course I also want to nail Olympic Trials marathon standard, sub 2:43, before the 2016 deadline. But to be honest it feels so big and so impossible, I just need to focus on each day for a good while until my foundation is built. Otherwise I'll be tempted to rush the process. 

Last year, leading up to Chicago and after, I dealt with a lot of imbalances and IT/knee pain. I was sort of hoping the issues would ease up after taking 9 months off. Turns out 'hope' isn't what mends imbalances. Nor does carting around an extra 40 pounds on relaxin loaded joints. Weird. 

The foundation work list is as follows:
Work on firing glutes and building strength.

Flipper leg
Yeah I have a wonky collapsible knee with a flippy foot. Get back to PT to address the imbalances causing this. 

Side stabber
The great mystery, but I'm sure working on strength and flexibility imbalances will help. Also working with my PT to unstick the muscles involved in side stabber.

Diastasis Recti
Bring those muscles back together. 

In the true sense. Sure abs, but also glutes and back. Kick the imbalances from the broken back to the curb once and for all.

Upper body
Hunchy weak shoulders gots to go. 

Yeah, that should cover it. I think the only thing missing is foot and achilles focus. I haven't had those injuries but I'll work in preventative there too. A little overwhelming. There's lot standing between me and running as hard as I want to. I'm not saying it will be perfect, but I've been scrapping training together on a weak base too long. Time to rebuild. 

I've proven to myself I'm not patient enough to comeback on my own, so I have enlisted expert help. The very person whose patient comeback I've been admiring, Steph Rothstein. I'm so excited to get started. I also am lucky enough to have access to an Eliptigo as I ramp my training up. Actually two, if anyone wants to join me!

+ Walk at least one hour every day. This could be one or two walks, have been doing this for a month.
+ Incorporate light running into evening walk every other day. Focus on form and uphills. No more than 20 minutes total each runday.
+ Strength glutes, arms, back (3 x week)
+ Stretch and roll (6 x week)
+ Diastasis Recti work (6 x week)
from RealSimple magazine, better illustrations than the midwife handout

Alright, it's go time!