I've started this blog to document my journey running while balancing motherhood, and eventually if I'm lucky enough, my next pregnancy.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Five Reasons Why Life Is Good...

1. I made it through my run today, and more importantly, I actually got my arse to the gym to get on the treadmill after teaching all day (no running outside today because it was a Code Red day). It was a struggle; I was exhausted, and I'm a little sore from yoga. Hmmm... I took yoga with the thought that it would be better to stretch and relax after my long run. Looks like I got more of a workout than I thought, which is always a good thing, I guess. :)

2. I just won a giveaway from Barefoot Angie Bee (check out her blog. She's awesome and super hard core)! I'm so excited; I've never won anything, but I guess I had good karma entering it since I entered it with the hopes of winning the prize to give to my hubby. Good Karma! I'm going to keep reminding myself to earn more good karma this week.

3. I do love my job. It's exhausting me this week, but I've already had a few good laughs with my students and with my friends (there's nothing like kids to give you a good laugh). Tomorrow I start teaching one of my favorite books, Fahrenheit 451. I can't wait to hear what my students have to say about it!

4. My son ate meat for the third day in a row. I used to be a vegetarian by choice for years and was beginning to think my almost 3 year old was making that choice himself (is it even possible to make a choice like that at 3? LOL). We've had difficulty getting him to eat any protein (and he can't eat tofu or soy products because he's allergic to them... go figure. A wanna be vegetarian who can't eat soy). Sunday he ate bacon (in fact, he loves bacon now! But who doesn't love bacon. Honestly, it's the greatest thing on the planet!). Monday he ate a few meatballs, and tonight he ate some more meatballs. Okay, it's not life shattering or amazing, but I'm pretty excited about it.

5. I found yet another reason to love my hubby: He just booked a weekend getaway for our anniversary in October. We're going to stay the weekend at a Bed and Breakfast in Annapolis. It's not too far from our house, but this allows us to get away and be close to home just in case Dill has some weird reaction to food, pollen, or let's face it, air. The kid is allergic to everything! It'll be the weekend after the Baltimore Half Marathon, too, so even more reason to celebrate.

There's certainly more I could add, but five is a nice number (and a magic number in mythology...). I hope you found something today that reminds you how good life really is.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Keeping it Short Sunday

I accidentally went close to 8 miles this morning on my run. I'm not sure what happened exactly. When I mapped it out, it was a little under 7 which would have been perfect. I guess I took a wrong turn somewhere... (anyone who knows me knows of my horrible sense of direction, especially when I actually have the directions to get to a place). I was fizzling out a little before 6 miles, and knew I was in trouble since I was nowhere near home.

I changed up my running strategy today. The last half marathon I ran I used a modified Jeff Galloway training program. I'd run for 7 minutes and walk for 2. Today I decided to try running for a full mile and then take a two minute walk break. It seemed to do the job just fine (with the exception of about mile 6. I think I'll adjust eventually). And even though I was beat after the extra mile, I still had some gas in the tank (or I just wanted to get home) because I ran the last half mile at a 9:30 pace, which is pretty fast for me, especially after running 7 miles already.

I arrived home to a brunch of an omlette and a BLT sandwich with a side of peaches prepared by my lovely and supportive hubby. Yumm!

Shortly after that, I passed out for a long nap on the couch with the little Dill Pickle. That's a nice way to spend my last day before all the kids come back to school.

I hope everyone enjoys the rest of the weekend. :)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Possibilities

I've decided to go into this school year with a runner's outlook. For those of you who aren't runners, let me explain (and anyone who knows me, knows that I have to tell a story first).

Yesterday, I woke up at 4:45 am to go for a run. Most people who don't run think that's insane. And whenever I tell someone I got up early to get a run in, I inevitably get one of two questions: why or how do you do that? Both questions have the same answer.

Sometimes when I wake up, I have this overwhelming desire to get out there and tear up the pavement. I have the feeling that I can run a 7 minute mile (and the fastest I have gone is a 9:30), or that I can run forever without stopping just because I want to. On those mornings when I run, I always start out strong, ready to accomplish whatever running fantasy I dreamt up in my morning haze. Eventually I have to laugh at myself mid run because reality hits me and I realize that I may not be able to accomplish the goal without being in a dream state (or without drastically changing my training schedule). Even so, I push myself a little harder on those days because runners believe in the possibilities. The possibility of being fast, the possibility of the mind being stronger than the body, the possibility that a body can sustain peak performance mile after mile, the possibility that the legs can carry the rest of the body for at least one more mile when the lungs feel like collapsing. And for runners, possibilities become reality.

Last winter I thought it might be possible for me to finish a half marathon. I wasn't fast and I certainly didn't run the entire 13.1 miles, but I finished. And from a girl who two years ago couldn't even run a mile without collapsing, that was amazing to me. I used to think running a half marathon would be impossible, but it's not. And I'm beginning to wonder, what else is there that I've always thought was impossible really is possible? Now I've become almost addicted to going to races, and for me running a race isn't just about challenging myself anymore.

Being surrounded by other runners before the start of a race is inspiring; almost everyone is in a fantastic mood. I've never met someone rude or nasty at a race. Even the elite (okay, I only know 1 elite runner and she's my trainer, but still...) and amazingly fast runners have been kind enough to offer me advice and to help me settle my nerves before the start. They all understand each runner is on his or her own path and they don't judge the slower runners (which would be me!). Everyone seems happy just to be there and in the moment. And everyone starts with the hopes of attaining a personal record. Because runners are eternal optimists.

So back to my original point: why and how do I get up so early to run (or why does any runner for that matter)? Not only do I feel the rush of adrenaline after a run, but I also feel the possibility of the future. And even when it's rainy or still dark, I have a sunnier outlook on my day.

So that's the way I want to start my teaching year. A sunny outlook. I don't want to think about what bad things might happen. Just like running, anything could happen. I might get hurt-- I could fall and sprain my ankle, or I could pull a hamstring-- but I'm not going to stop running for fear of what could happen. Instead, I will think about the amazing possibilities of this year. Something great could happen. I just have to wake up and get out there each morning.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Pulling Myself Out of a Funk...

Well, today was the very last chance I could have possibly have been pregnant. No deal. So now we'll need to wait until February at the earliest to start trying again. I'll admit that even with all the list making and talking I've been doing lately about being cool with this, I wasn't. I was beyond bummed.

Last night, we had Chinese and my fortune cookie told me the results of an upcoming test would make me happier. Initially I didn't even think about a pregnancy test; I thought more along the lines of "Awesome. I'm going to improve my half marathon time". But then my mind went to other places... babies. Damn! I was doing so well faking being positive! :)

So when I got the big negative test today, I let myself wallow in my gloom for a bit, but now I need to pull myself up by my running shoe laces and get over it. Time to run. Time to get a hotter body before a baby bump makes it, well, not so hot after pregnancy (because I firmly believe pregnant women are hot!). Time to think positive. Time to kill this half marathon.

One last thing:

Warning to all pregnant women in my life and possibly in my line of sight: Unfortunately, I might be like one of those women in grocery store lines that lose their minds and want to rub your belly like a jeanie lamp and look at you like I might try to put you in my shopping cart and run off with you. And for those who are closer to me than an absolute stranger, I will want to hug you a lot, especially when your belly gets all round and adorable (I know... some of you aren't huggers. But you are going to hug me!). I will live vicariously through your cute little pregnant selves. :)

Yeah... I'm feeling just a little better already. (Just a little...)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Good Advice...

Last weekend, my best friend Marianne, who has known me since middle school, gave me some good advice. Sometimes advice from her is hard to swallow; it is typically served straight to the point with a side of blunt, but that's one of the things I love about her-- I always get an honest and loving opinion from her, and I know she's always thinking of what's best for me. I almost always hate the advice when I first hear it because it's never what I want to hear. But after a few days, I usually realize she's on the right track (thus the reason it's taken me a few days to come to this realization :) ).

During our long drive to and from Long Island, we had lots of time to catch up and after mentioning my desire to get pregnant (for probably the 40th time in the past month or two), she told me I should just enjoy how good my life is right now, to live in the moment rather than planning and envisioning how good my life might be in the future if everything goes exactly as I plan it. She mentioned that I was setting myself up for disappointment, especially with my plans that I must be pregnant by a certain month in order for life to go well. I never thought of this, but as Marianne told me, I'm an overachiever and I expect getting pregnant to be easy or something I can "get an A on" if I work really hard. And she's totally right.

I hate to admit this, but I secretly turn everything with friends into a competition , including getting pregnant (my Aries nature, I suppose). No one knows they're in a contest with me, of course, but the race is to see who gets pregnant first. And when they get pregnant first, I feel like they win, and I lose. This is the first time I've ever made a confession of my silly race to the preggo finish line (and yay to all my friends out there who are pregnant. You won 1st place!)

So, yeah Mare, you were totally right. I'm going to make a real effort to enjoy my life just as it is right now. Not how I wish it would be or expect it to be in 2 or 3 or 9 months. Because as Mare said, once things change (especially in regards to having more children), they really change. So here's a list (I guess I'm really into lists lately) of what I'm really going to enjoy about my life right now.

I will enjoy:
1. Sleeping throughout the night without interruption... mostly.
2. Copious amounts of goat cheese, brie, and raw cheeses (click here for my favorite goat cheese. It's insanely good.). I can't get enough of them.
3. Running however I want without regards to overdoing it or pushing myself beyond my comfort level which I know might not be possible some day in the future
4. 1/2 Marathon training, mostly long runs on crisp, cool days.
5. Did I mention sleeping throughout the night?
6. My hot momma boots (as I like to call them) that I can start wearing once it's cooler again. If my legs were all swollen with water weight I wouldn't be able to wear them.
7. The idea of losing 5-10 more lbs. during training instead of gaining 20 (or 30... or 40). Realize I said idea.
8. Baking with Dill Pickle without worrying about time. Today we made oatmeal raisin cookies and he ate dry oatmeal and said, "Wow, Mommy! It's delicious! Good job"! After two handfuls he asked for more. Too funny!
9.Getting a babysitter. As my friend Ursula with three kids has said, people are a lot less willing to babysit for you the more kids you have.
10. Running in the dark. I'm much faster in the dark because of two great fears: getting kidnapped off the side of the road by a man/men in a beat-up white van with no windows and spiders hanging from trees... I run faster so they don't bother me. (I know, I know... I shouldn't be running alone at night, but I'm really careful-- and like I said, fast (at night, at least).
11. Having some alone time with my hubby after Dill falls asleep, even if it's the ten minutes before we both pass out from exhaustion.
12.. Belgian beers. Enough said there.
13. Wine and mimosas. Ditto.
14. My sweet hubby giving me a "Mother's Day" (I sit on the couch or lay in bed and he serves me my favorite meal--REAL French toast with REAL maple syrup, eggs, bacon and the best part, mimosas garnished with strawberries. The mimosas continue throughout the day) this Sunday just so I don't hate Monday and the first day of having to go back to work so much.
15. I think the previous reason counts for two.

I'd say those are some good reasons to be happy with my current status. :)

Happy Thursday, everyone.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Top 10 Reasons to Love Fall (in an attempt to brainwash myself)

I woke up this morning a little sad. Why? Because for me, summer is almost over. I know most parents out there run through the streets in imaginary celebratory parades this time of year because it means back to school for their kids. But I want to cry. Because it's back to school for me.

I'm a teacher and my summer is almost over. I've been preparing myself for the past month. As soon as I saw the first Back to School commercial, I reminded myself that it would soon be time. But no matter how much I prepare myself, and no matter how long I've been doing this, back to school time always comes with some measure of shock and denial. NO! It's too soon. I'm not ready. I didn't get all my projects and to-do lists finished. Surely there must be some mistake; it can't be the end of August already. And I feel like I have to dig my fingernails into the door jam to hold on to the very last bits of summer. If someone wants me to go back to work, they are going to have to pry my fingernails out of the door and drag me. I refuse to go willingly (okay, I'm going to go no matter what. But I just want to sound hard right now).

This is the time when we teachers feel a collective sadness for the inevitable return of fall. It seems no matter how many prayers we send to the heavens, how many spells we try to cast, or how many ways we try to stop the Earth from rotating around the sun, fall always finds it's way to us. We grieve for the death of summer and all the freedom it brings us (with the exception of those really weird teachers who really want the first day of school to come... I have to say that while I envy their optimism and exuberance, I kind of hate them for a few days...).

My mornings of sleeping in past 5 a.m. and sitting in my pajamas until 8 or 9 (or sometimes on really lazy days right until my husband gets home from work) with my son are over until next June. No more cuddling into late morning with the little Dill Pickle. June seems like a lifetime away...

To help me brainwash myself (is that even possible?), I decided to make a list of the reasons I should be happy fall is almost here.

1. Fall means great running weather. No more running in 90+ degree weather.

2. I get a new outfit for the first day of school. I know it's a cliche stereotype about women, but shopping really does make me happy.

3. I'll get to use my jogging stroller more; Dill loves our running time together.

4. As much as I don't want to go back to work, I will get to see some of my best and closest friends every day if I do (kind of the same feeling that you probably had way back in high school). The first day is a lot of fun (okay, it's not fun at all because we're in staff meetings all day. But we make it as fun as possible by passing notes, exchanging looks/funny faces, etc. Again, it's high school all over again.)

5. I'll have more awesome stories to tell. One thing is for sure... teenagers can be really funny and teaching allows me to always have a funny story to tell at a party. And man, have I got some good stories to tell from the past 10 years of teaching.

6. I get to teach some of my favorite books and make kids love them (or else!).

7. Fall means I'll get paid again on a regular basis. Teachers don't get paid during the summer, and by August, the bank account is always a bit light.

8. It will be fall, my favorite season (I know this seems to contradict how I feel about the beginning of the school year). I love how the air smells, I love the crunch of the leaves, I love the soft breezes, and I love being able to hang outside in jeans and a light sweater. I also love that the mosquitoes are gone. :)

9. Fall means it's time for Pumpkin Cookies. My grandmother gave me her famous Pumpkin Cookie recipe. They are so good, I can only make them a few times a year because I eat about 12 in one sitting. If you leave a comment and/or become a follower of my blog, I'm willing to share it with you. This is prize enough. I have selfishly hid this recipe from everyone in my family, including my father who has asked for it several times. I am willing to sacrifice my secret recipe so I don't feel so unpopular in the blogging world (yeah, it's high school again...).

10. ????

I'm fresh out of ideas. I need some help with one more reason...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tunes Tuesday

Yesterday I ended with my mantra being from a Kanye West song, "Stronger". So I thought today I'd go through the songs that get me the most pumped up to run (especially when I don't feel like it).

1. Walking On the Moon- The Police (perfect warm-up because it's exactly 5 minutes)
2. Pump It- Black Eyed Peas
3. Electric Worry- Clutch (My son is obsessed with this song. If it plays while he's in the jogging stroller, he yells for me to go faster.)
4. Fast As You Can- Fionna Apple
5. Stronger- Kanye West
6. Work It Out- Beyonce
7. This Fire- Franz Ferdinand
8. Bad Romance- Lady Gaga
9. Used Up Has Been- Brickfoot (This is my friends' band. It is such a great song for about halfway through a run. It always makes me push harder.)
10. Disturbia- Rhianna (4:21)
11. I Got a Feeling- Black Eyed Peas
12. Blood Sugar Sex Magik- Red Hot Chili Peppers
13. The Distance- Cake
14. Psycho Killer- Talking Heads
15. Rocky Theme- Rocky Soundtrack (I know... it's kind of lame, but it makes me laugh at the end of a run while I push myself to the finish)

This gives you about 1 hour and 3 minutes of running time.

I'm in need of some new songs to keep my moving on my playlist.

What is (are) your top song(s)?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mantra Monday and Running on Long Island

I'm back from Long Island after a beautiful wedding. I know I missed Foodie Friday, so maybe anyone who is reading might think I'm slacker. I assure you it wasn't intentional; I was just having too much fun! Friday is my favorite day of the week during training-- it's the day I get to eat extra carbs (yummy!). Once we made it to Long Island after the long drive up, my best friend Marianne and I found an awesome Mexican restaurant for dinner Friday night. I had chicken with fresh mango salsa and sweet plantains with a side of rice. It was delicious! I also had two large glasses of peach and watermelon sangria, which was a bit of a mistake since I had to get up and run in the morning. I should have been more concerned with hydrating myself. But I was on a little vacation and having a great time.

The wedding was at 11:30 on Saturday and I knew I needed to do 6 miles before that. My plan was to get up at 7 a.m. and get my run on. The problem was I stayed up until 2 a.m. because I was having such a great time visiting with old friends. I was laughing so hard, I totally lost track of time (although my friend Mike said I kept repeating "After this water, I'm going to bed" for at least 2 hours). I rationalized with myself that on race days I get far less sleep because I'm so nervous and that 5 hours of sleep was better than none.

Sleep was hard to come by that night. I woke up at 4:45 to an alarm going off in our room. It went off every 10 minutes for about an hour until we figured out how to turn it off. After that, I woke up a few more times before 7. At 7, the alarm went off again, and I felt my body beg me to go back to sleep. But I ignored my body's request and I got up. I put on my running gear, and walked out the door.

It was beautiful outside, a perfect day for a run. The air was cool with no humidity and there was a faint smell of salty water, both of which were such a nice treat after running in Baltimore all summer. The sky was clear and a brilliant blue, perfect for the wedding later that day. But after my lack of sleep, I didn't feel much like running. Thankfully, I had company. My friend Ursula and I went back and forth between walking and jogging for almost 3 miles. After that, we went inside to the hotel's gym and I finished with just running, but I didn't make it to 6 miles, only 5. However, I'm pretty happy I did anything given how tired I was and the fact that I was pressed for time. I honestly think I made up for the 1 mile I didn't do with the amount of dancing I did later that day, anyway. But I realized that even though I was a little tired, the run didn't kill me. I felt more confident and positive after running (and I didn't feel guilty for drinking a few light beers at the reception).

At the reception, I thoroughly enjoyed myself-- from watching the loving couple, to being with friends, the day was all about love. Here's a pic of the newlyweds... so cute!

So now that I'm back, it's back to the routine. Today I will add an extra mile to my run to make up for the one I didn't do Saturday. I need to kick it into high gear as there are only 9 weeks until the Baltimore Half Marathon. I will do my extra mile with this mantra in mind, "N-n-now that that don't kill me/can only make me stronger./I need you to hurry up now/cause I can't wait much longer." It's from one of my favorite running songs, "Stronger" by Kanye West. It will keep me going, and hopefully help me to pick up my pace.

What is your running mantra or what do you repeat to yourself to help you get through a run (or for those that don't run, what's your mantra to get through something when you need a little more pep)?

Happy Monday!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thoughts from a former mad woman

I've been running around my house like a mad woman today while my son has been in day care- doing laundry, folding clothes, cleaning my son's room (even though I know there's no point because he's just going to dump his toy box again as soon as he gets home), cleaning the office, organizing the basement closets, running car loads of donations to Goodwill. And I still haven't packed yet for my weekend away in Long Island.

So when the boys got home, I was feeling a little stressed. There is still so much to do and it doesn't look like I made even a dent in all the housework; I'm going to be gone all weekend and I know Dave won't get much done because it's nearly impossible to do so with Dylan. Instead of sitting down with the guys when they got home, I was still running around, hair frazzled, flying up and down the stairs.

That is until Dylan, my 2 1/2 year old son asked me for a favor. He asked to lay on my belly and watch Scooby Doo.

I couldn't say no. And so we laid on the couch together for at least 15 minutes (which is 2 hours in Dylan time; he never sits still unless he's sleeping, and even then he's still all over the place) watching Scooby while I smelled his hair, rubbed his back. And I realized I was really going to miss these kinds of simple moments this weekend. For the past few days, I've been feeling some guilt that I'd be away all weekend- guilt that I was leaving Dave all by himself to care for Dylan, guilt that I was leaving Dylan period. Dylan is growing so fast; I kept thinking I would I miss something. But the fact that I'm going away is actually making me stop for a moment and realize how lucky I am. My life isn't exciting; in fact, most people would call it borderline boring. But it is a life that makes me happy. I have two guys that I love and that love me. What more is there in life?

And I have to remember that I deserve to get out there and do something for me. Just because I'm a mom doesn't mean my life has to stop. Going to my friend's wedding this weekend is going to be great, like a high school reunion. This may be one of the last times I really get to hang out with everyone before getting pregnant again. I'm also going to get a chance to be with my very best girl friends for two nights in a row (slumber party and sleeping in!). Having this time away is going to rejuvenate me and make me that much more excited to see my guys when I get home late Sunday night.

I won't be able to get away all the time to regroup. So I was wondering, what do you do to rejuvenate yourself?

BTW: Come on back for tomorrow's Foodie Friday...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Work-It Out Wednesday

What a beautiful day. I know. You're thinking I'm crazy given how hot it already is and how hot it's supposed to get today.
Here's why it's so lovely on my side. I just got back from a gorgeous run-- my speed wasn't pretty (in fact, I had to stop and walk for a tad because of the heat)-- but the scenery was amazing. I drove up to the NCR Trail in Baltimore County. Here's a couple of pictures of the view during the run.

I figured the trail would be a little easier on my body since I'm having a few pains. More on that later; I want to focus on all the good.

The entire trail was shaded and I could hear all the sounds of nature surrounding me. Running to that music truly set my mind at ease (although I did listen eventually to my Ipod and jammed out to Beyonce's Work-It Out, thus today's title. I really wanted to stop running and start dancing like Beyonce on the middle of the trail, but I held back. Man, the bikers I passed would have been in for a real treat had I been dancing instead of just running and singing!). I think my breathing was calmer; I didn't feel like I was panting like an Alaskan husky in the desert like I normally do. With that state of mind, I was more willing to listen to my body and what it needed. My hip is a little weak, so when I felt it needed a break, I gave it one.

That's another thing I love about running. It's really teaching me to listen to my body and what it needs. I feel like I'm more aware of the subtle symptoms of dehydration or a muscle imbalance. Instead of panicking and thinking an injury will sideline me for life, I'm learning new ways to make myself stronger while continuing to run.

The other beautiful thing about today... refueling with chocolate milk. It doesn't get better than going for a run and coming home to chocolate milk. It's just as good for you as Gatorade because it gives you both carbs and protein, and given the choice between Gatorade and chocolate , it's no secret as to what I will ALWAYS choose. I know my relatives are laughing because I am always making excuses to eat sweets. In fact, my husband knows that he can always bribe me to do anything with chocolate. But I swear I'm not making this up. Check it out yourself.

So given my Beyonce inspired title today, here's how I'm working out my hip imbalance today. I've noticed a little pain in my knee, and know (thanks to my generous Physical Therapist sister-in-law Anne) that in my case it's due to a couple of things... a weak hip and butt. She gave me a lot of exercises and stretches that I was religious about doing before the last half, but I've been slacking lately and what do you know... the weakness is back! So for the past week, I've been doing this workout from Runner's World.

So today, I'm thankful for this beautiful day that is reminding me to listen to my soul and keep running..

What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Plans for the fall

So I've come to a decision.
We've been trying to get pregnant this summer, and so far it hasn't worked out. If I'm not pregnant this month, I'm going to put it off until the winter and instead run the Baltimore Half Marathon. So since I'm not sure if I am pregnant or not, I'm just going to continue running and start training for the 13.1 miles on October 16.
While I want to be pregnant right now, I realized that I loved training for my first half marathon in May. Having the structure of a training schedule worked well for me; I got great sleep every night, I ate better (and really well the night before a long run), and I felt an immense amount of pride at being able to say I was going to achieve my goal of running 13.1 miles.
But there were so many unknowns with training the first time around. It took me a while to learn how to pace myself, what foods to eat to give me proper fuel for the long run, what to do if I got sick and missed a workout. To be honest, there was quite a bit of anxiety around whether or not I was doing things the right way.
Now that I finished one half, it's in my blood. I need to do another, and I was feeling a little sad that I wouldn't be able to run the Baltimore Half because my plan was to be pregnant. Waiting until next year (or even longer) seems so far away to get back to the routine of training. So right now, 10ish weeks away is the do or die moment on deciding whether or not to train for the half. I know I could just train for a 5K instead, but now that I've done 13.1, I don't like the shorter distance as much. I'm a slow runner, and running a 5K makes me feel pressure to run faster than I'm comfortable running. After completing the half, I thought I'd be faster (which technically I am), but I guess I expected miracles... going from a 12 minute mile to a 7 minute mile isn't realistic at all. At a 5K race, everyone is always flying past me, which I used to be okay with because I was a newbie to running, but now I feel panic to be better and I feel guilt for being slow... thoughts I don't want start to rush through my mind. You're not good enough. You're not fast enough. Maybe if you didn't eat that cupcake last night...
Running the half, I feel more comfortable to run slower because I'm going farther. And I get more of what I love about running-- me time. My head feels clearer. I have more time to sort through my thoughts, or if I want I can just tune out and listen to my playlist (and always sing to "All the Single Ladies" near the end of my run). And I feel so strong.
I think training for a half this time will be better because this time I know what to do-- how to train, how to eat, how to dress (I was wearing cotton for some of my training... gasp!). So regardless of whether I'm pregnant or not, it's a win-win situation. Either I'm going to be really running with a baby on board, or I get to train again for a half marathon. Either way, I'm happy. And that's what running for me is all about, just being happy.

So this weekend, I'll need to do 6 miles Saturday, which is going to be interesting since I'll be in Long Island for a friend's wedding. My best friend (who I am happy to say is my very hot date since my hubbie is staying home with Dill) may need to kick me out of bed early Saturday morning to log some miles before the 11:30 wedding.

Monday, August 9, 2010

My drug of choice

All my life I hated running. I was one of the kids in middle school and high school who walked the mile fitness test every year (and I despised the kids who got those awards for being the fastest and most fit). But I secretly wanted to be on of those people who was pounding the pavement in the sun, in the rain, throughout the seasons. In my mind, runners were the epitome of mentally and physically fit.

After surviving pregnancy and labor with yoga and breathing, I developed a new sense of confidence in the power of my body. I began to realize that all the old limits I set for myself—that I was weak, that I was slow, that I was inferior—were all in my head. I no longer had to be the girl who couldn’t. I was a powerful woman. And I was inspired to push myself in ways I never had.

So I decided my challenge would be to run a 5K by my 30th birthday. I took it slow and gave myself 6 months, but within weeks I was running more than a mile (here's the running plan I used to get me started). Each day on the treadmill, I became more confident in my strength. I visualized the word strength over and over to push the pain in my body away, turning myself into a stronger me, into the runner I wanted to become.

Running has become a drug for me. Early in every run, my body whispers, “It’s time to stop. Walk. You can’t run anymore.” My muscles ache; I can feel my tendons moving and stretching. But I breathe in the cool air and exhale the burning I feel throughout my body. I think, “Strength. Keep breathing. Keep going.” And then comes the warm rush of adrenaline that passes through my body—it heals all of the aches and I feel a moment of absolute silence and peace. I don’t think of anything—no anxiety, no worries, no concerns over who I am—I don’t feel anything except for my breath flowing through my body, and the comfort of the repetitive sound of my feet floating over the pavement.

Through running, I have found my stride, my power, another part of myself.

I am in no way the fastest runner; in fact I'm usually near the back of the pack at races. My fastest mile ever was a 9:30 (thanks to trainer Becky Parks, before her coaching I was running a 12 minute mile). My half marathon time was a little over 3 hours and I didn't run the entire race, but instead used the run-walk-run method.

So if you’re looking to read an elite runner's blog, that's not me. My goal is to just enjoy running and love the body that allows me to continue running.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Crossing My Fingers

At this very moment, I am hoping to either already be pregnant or to get pregnant in the next few hours. I know... TMI. This is the perfect time for me to get pregnant; being a teacher, I would ideally like to have a baby in April and then be on maternity leave for the rest of the school year. But sometimes even the best laid plans don't work out.
The last time my husband and I tried to have a baby, it took almost 3 years. Each time I found out I wasn't pregnant, my spirit broke. I hope it doesn't take as long the second time around. I'm trying to stay optimistic though and I have a lot of things going in my favor. Most importantly is that I'm pretty healthy right now. I certainly am not perfect in my weight, but I'm physically active and at a healthier weight than I have been in a long time. Over the past couple of years, running has become part of my life. I've fallen in love with the feeling of freedom and conquering my own body that comes with pushing myself. In fact, this past May, I finished my first half marathon. Since I started running, it's become very much like my secret lover. I feel like I have to sneak away several times a week to get that rush of adrenaline that comes with running.
While I was training for the half marathon, there were many times when I felt guilty for sneaking out of the house before my son saw me. There were times when saw me leaving and cried out for me to stay and play with him. I felt like I was putting my family second. But now I've realized that without running (I took a little break after the half marathon), I'm not as happy. I feel anxious, fat, unattractive, too pale, weak, unfunny, that my feet are to big,uncreative ... the list is never ending. I know some of those things have nothing to do with running, but the fact is that running makes me feel great. I'm a better mom after a run. I have more energy and feel more balanced. This is why I KNOW I cannot last 9 whole months of pregnancy without running. My goal for myself is to continue running while balancing my life as a mom (which is why my jogging stroller is my favorite gift ever-- thanks Mom and Dad), and although I'm not pregnant yet, I plan to run safely throughout my pregnancy for my sanity, for my health, and for my family (and apparently some of my students who stated I was crazy during my first pregnancy).
Anyone who knew me during my pregnancy with Dylan knows that I let myself get a little too big. I won't say how many pounds I gained (although people felt free to ask while I was pregnant... I'll never get over the lack of boundaries have while talking to pregnant women), but here's a picture of me at my shower two whole months before Dylan was even born.

I am determined to not let myself get in that state again. Hopefully running will allow me to stay healthier and lighter throughout.