Posts Tagged by confessions

The State of Things: 4 Months Out

…or 4 months in. I suppose it’s all how you look at it.

Remember when I said I wanted to write a 3-month postpartum update, because it seemed like that was a pretty significant amount of time (the end of the 4th trimester and all)? Well I guess I missed that window. So I started typing up a 4-month post the other day, got maybe a quarter of the way through and realized I was boring even myself. Which is a pretty sure sign I shouldn’t publish it. So instead, here is a somewhat random collection of 4-month updates, thoughts, and confessions. I can’t promise it won’t bore you, but at least it’s easy to skim in this format.

The most common thing people want to know (I think) is if I’ve lost all the baby weight yet. I’m finding the answer to be a lot more complicated than it seems. I lost a good chunk of weight pretty quickly and then it sort of stalled out a couple of months ago (I’m sure the almost nightly treats I consume have nothing to do with it!). Technically, I have maybe 5-6 pounds to go before I reach my starting weight (i.e. my weight at my initial 6 week OB appointment a year ago). And honestly – I’m expecting those extra pounds to hang around until Amelia is weaned.

DSC 0831Totally unflattering shot to demonstrate the belly at 11 weeks pp. At least Amelia looks cute!

But – extra pounds or not, my body is shaped very differently. Although my hips aren’t quite as curvy as they were a couple of months ago and I no longer look pregnant when I remember to stand up straight and suck in my belly, I’m just soft.  So yes, my clothes fit again (yay!) but they don’t all look as good on me as I remember.

The only parts of my body that are somewhat toned are my biceps — from lugging around a car seat, 500 bags, and a baby on a regular basis – and my calves – from carrying around so much extra weight over this past year. As for the rest? Well…let’s just say I now have quite the collection of cellulite.

I swore many times during pregnancy that I would not miss a single thing about it. Turns out that wasn’t quite true. Over the past few months, I’ve realized that I miss two things: 1. Not having to suck in my stomach. It was so freeing to just let it all hang out! and 2. The thick luscious locks that never shed. I am in the middle of some massive postpartum hair loss. My drains are so full that it’s a wonder I have anything left on my head.

Maybe that’s because at this point, pregnancy sort of seems like it was one long dream. It’s funny to me that you spend the better part of a year pregnant and then once it’s done (and you’ve recovered physically), it’s almost like you never were. I mean, sure, I have lasting physical reminders – my cavernous belly button, the canyon down the middle of my abs (more on that in a second), and oh yeah, that lovely scar. But for the most part I just feel like myself. And I ALMOST forget what it was like to be pregnant. Almost.

IMG 4863Last weekend before baby. Coat not even close to zipping

Labor and delivery though? Nope. No way. I am not sure I will ever be able to forget that.

As I mentioned above, I still have a lovely gap between my abdominal muscles. I wish I had known more about diastasis recti before and during pregnancy. My midwives never talked to me about it, and I just assumed a large separation between your ab muscles was normal. I’m sure I did things during pregnancy that didn’t help the issue…things I would have avoided had I known. Fortunately in the almost 19 weeks since I’ve given birth the gap has decreased — from about 3+ fingers 6 weeks pp to about one finger width at its widest point (around my belly button). So it’s not healed, but at least it’s slowly moving in the right direction. After months of doing nothing for fear that any core exercise would make it worse, I finally talked to my friend Kathleen at Oh baby! fitness. She gave me some really helpful suggestions and I’ve been working hard to engage my transverse abdominals ever since. Still haven’t given in and bought a splint yet. (FYI: some really helpful information about diastasis recti here.)

Except – your transverse abdominals are hard to find! Or at least, they are after they’ve been dormant for almost a year. I’ve been working on scooping or “hollowing” my belly – basically pulling my belly button into my spine — periodically throughout the day. Since I spend so much time sitting in the car, I practice during my commute (about the only productive thing I do during those 2.5 hours). But I really have to focus. The second I stop thinking about my posture, I’m slumped down with my “beer belly” hanging out once again.

Partly based on a recommendation from K and partially out of desperation from not being able to run, I signed up for Barre3 online classes. I will admit that I expected to be underwhelmed, and really didn’t see myself lasting beyond the 15-day free trial (I’m just against paying for online exercise classes). 10 minutes in to my first workout and my legs were toast!! Granted, there’s a lot more cellulite in there than muscle these days (see above) but still. I take back any negative thoughts I had about it…and will even admit that I’m sort of loving it. It’s a workout that I can easily do any time and since I’m still not running, it feels good to do something else active that doesn’t seem to bother my bum (I just modify/omit any core exercises that focus on the obliques for now). Plus, anything that works on toning said bum and those pesky transverse abdominals is good in my book.

I have become sort of obsessed with cloth diapers.

cloth diapers

Look, I know that the concept of using cloth to catch my baby’s poo, washing it in the same machine that cleans my clothes, and then reusing it is probably disgusting to many of you. Or at least probably doesn’t sound like your definition of fun. But I’m telling you…there’s something about those cute diapers that’s addicting. I can see now why people build up ridiculously large stashes. I’m one of those people who ordered a bunch of different kinds initially to try them out, and now I want more of my favorites (plus there’s so many more to try!). And yes, we are using them at daycare. This is more of a testament to the amazing teachers in the infant room than anything else, but it did take a little negotiating (side note: I’d be happy to write a post about using cloth diapers, particularly if you are working…if anyone is interested. But my main advice is if you want to use them in daycare: know your state’s regulations! They may be more helpful than you think).

I’ve bared my chest in more public places during the past 4 months than ever before in my entire life. Don’t get the wrong idea, I’m not walking around uncovered with the baby on my hip nursing at will, but you know, the baby gets hungry and she doesn’t really care where we are when that happens. I mean, in what other situation would I feel comfortable going partially topless at the office? (Answer: none). Luckily this whole nursing thing is becoming easier and feeling more natural all the time.

Really this whole being a mom thing is like that. Sometimes it is still strange to call myself a mom; to say that I have a daughter. But I’m amazed by how natural it feels. It’s not that I always know what to do, because I certainly don’t have most of the answers. But having a child of my own — it’s this huge life adjustment but also like nothing has changed, all at the same time.

Family photo_Easter

Related: I’m amazed by how much I have absolutely loved this baby stage. When Evan and I used to talk about the future, it was always about having kids…little people to do fun things with. I knew they’d be babies first, but the pictures in my head of our future family were always when they were older. And although I knew I liked babies, I was mostly excited about the kid stage. Except now that I have one I can’t even believe how much I love her at this age. It’s a lot of work, sure, but it’s way more fun than I ever imagined. I literally get to watch someone learn and grow right before my eyes. What’s more incredible than that?

Amelia_Gram_Easter bookLittle girl loves her books! Reading with Gram on Easter.

Speaking of babies, I’m sure you will all believe me when I say that Amelia is the most perfect, most wonderful baby ever (ha!). No but really, she’s pretty laid-back for the most part and I know we lucked out in that department. Which is why I sort of (kind of) hoped we’d breeze through the dreaded 4 month sleep regression. After all, she has always been a pretty good sleeper, and slept through the night at a fairly early age (don’t hate me). Shows how naive we are. I think (hope!) we are finally at the tail end of it, but I will tell you that it was worse than all those middle of the night, round the clock newborn feedings. At least then you expect to be up all night! I have never been closer to napping at my desk every afternoon than I was this past week.

Amelia 4 months

Good thing she’s so cute! It’s hard to stay grumpy when I see that little face.

And finally — it took me an entire week to write this post. But at least I got it done before the 5-month mark. Little victories.

Pregnancy Confessions II

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Pregnancy Confessions (and other senseless rambles)

 

I am officially in Pregnant-Running retirement.

I thought about writing an entire post about this, but there’s really no need to make it more dramatic than it was. Nothing happened. There was no “This is My Last Run of Pregnancy!” moment. I just…stopped running. And I’ve simply lost all desire to start again. I guess you could say my last “official” run was during the 36th week of this pregnancy. But it was only a mile, so it feels a little silly to count it.

The funny thing is that I miss it, but I don’t. Even walks are becoming uncomfortable these days. And really, as the weather gets colder, I find myself missing skiing way more than I miss running.

Okemo_december 2013

I do, however, miss feeling strong.

I feel like I’m in the worst shape of my life. I get winded walking up stairs (or hills) and my legs are exhausted. I feel every single one of those 29 pounds I’ve gained since March, but I’ve forgotten what it’s like to move around without them.

That being said, I’m surprised by how little I miss my abs.

Before getting pregnant, I thought that might be one of the harder things to see go. But now I find that I really don’t care. Sure, I’d love to have a nice strong core again, but I have to admit it’s kind of nice to just let it all hang out.

…now we’ll see how that changes once this hard ball of baby turns into flab…

cheese baby_37 weeks full…and the shirt no longer fits…

I’m working from home until the baby is born. And while I originally had grand plans to wake up every morning and make myself presentable so that I’d be more productive, I’ve been spending the week in old running pants and Evan’s sweatshirts.

My commute to the office is 75 minutes each way (on a good day). I’m incredibly thankful for a doctor’s note and a flexible enough work environment that has allowed me to work from home for these next couple of weeks. But I’m slightly embarrassed to admit how quickly it’s turned me into a slob.

I don’t really think my belly is all that big…until I catch a glimpse of my reflection or see a photo.

And then I remember.

Christmas tree 2013_37 weeksMy only requirement for our tree was that we find one fatter than my belly. Done and done.

I don’t think I’ll miss being pregnant, but I can see how I might miss feeling her move.

I am so excited to meet my daughter and get to know who she is. But I can’t deny the fact that there’s this incredible connection between the two of us right now that will soon be gone. It’s weird to think about.

I lose track of how many times I wake up at night.

Nights all blur together at this point anyway. As long as I fall back to sleep after each wake up (doesn’t always happen), I consider it a successful night. I’m just hoping all of this will be good practice for the first few months of life with a newborn.

I’m terrified of what life is going to be like with a newborn, but not for reasons you might think.

I know that first month (/months!) can be incredibly tough. The sleep deprivation, the hormones, the recovery, the crying, etc etc etc. But I’m not really stressed about it. I’m not claiming to know everything there is to know about raising a child, I’m just confident in Evan and I as a team. As tough as it may be sometimes, I know we’re going to figure things out as we go.

No, I’m more nervous about my ability to commit to all of the things I want to do: breastfeed, cloth diaper (it’s always a good sign when you tell your husband’s grandmother you’re using cloth and she responds with “God bless ya!“), work full-time, and oh yeah, somehow find time to actually train again. Not to mention spending time with my husband and making sure the poor pup doesn’t feel neglected. I know deep down that if things are a priority, we’ll make time for them. But it’s hard to even wrap my head around the level of crazy that is about to become my life.

cloth diapersCloth might be extra work, but it’s hard to deny the cuteness

Because everyone wants to know — yes, I’d love to have an all-natural, smooth labor but I’m absolutely not against medication if needed.

In fact, I’m going in expecting to at least need pitocin, due to a family history of bodies that just don’t seem to want to progress through active labor on their own. I don’t want it, and I certainly don’t plan on asking for it (unless of course, baby decides to be nice and late. Then I’m all about helping encourage her to come out). I’d rather not use drugs because I want to rely on the strength of my own body to get me through labor. But ultimately I accept that I am not the one in control here (a very difficult thing for me to come to terms with, believe me). And at the end of the day, as cliché as it sounds, our number one goal is “healthy baby, healthy mom.”

I’ve never understood when women say they are looking forward to the pain of labor.

If that’s you, well…to use the words of Evan’s grandmother: “God bless ya!” To each his own, I guess. I’m not dreading the pain, and I accept that childbirth is going to hurt. But that doesn’t mean I’m looking forward to feeling it. It’s like running a marathon (yeah, I know, completely different things but it’s the closest comparison I have so go with me here!). I know that pain is going to be a part of the experience. And when that pain comes, I accept it, embrace it as much as I can, and try to work through it, knowing that it’ll ultimately make me stronger. But I certainly don’t look forward to it. I am excited about the reward that comes after the marathon, not the pain I have to endure during it.

Even though everyone insists otherwise, there’s a part of me that wonders if I’ll even know I’m in labor when the time comes.

In movies it’s always so dramatic. The woman is going about her day when suddenly BAM! – she’s hit with the most intense contraction ever. Or her water breaks in public and there’s a mad rush to get to the hospital. In reality, the percentage of women whose water breaks before labor begins is pretty low. And I’ve been experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions on a regular basis since 33 weeks. What was once just a few tightenings in the evening has now become an all-day occurrence. There’s not pattern to them yet, but feeling contractions has become as normal a part of my day as feeling the baby move. So what if I’ve just become immune to it?*

*Okay so rationally I realize that real contractions are way more intense than BH (and have even felt a few real ones to prove it) and that women aren’t able to just go about their day, oblivious to the fact that they’re experiencing pain. But…doesn’t mean the fear isn’t still there.

cheese baby_37 weeks side full

At close to 38 weeks, I’m less anxious for the end than I thought I would be.

There was a long period of time during this pregnancy when I thought the end would NEVER come. December seemed like a lifetime away. Even as I hit the third trimester, I just kept telling myself: make it to 37 weeks, that’s all you have to do. Just like when I’m doing a long run, thinking about the very end was overwhelming. So I tell myself that if I can make it to mile 17/18, I can certainly make it to mile 20. I thought maybe these last few weeks would drag on forever, but they’re not. Instead, I’m increasingly aware of how little time I have left. Although I’ve had 9+ months to prepare, it seems like there is so much to do in these last few weeks. So much to take in before my life is forever changed. And sometimes I wonder — am I ready??

And then I picture still being pregnant on Christmas and all I can say is “COME OUT NOW BABY! (please and thank you)”

 

Pregnancy Confessions

I have always prided myself on my memory and attention to detail, but lately I’ve become incredibly spacey.

And we’re not just talking about forgetting to respond to an email or other innocuous things. In the span of the past week, I have shipped 2 packages to addresses where I never actually lived, forgotten to put up the gate that keeps the dog out of the trash when we aren’t home (which led to a trash-all-over-the-house disaster), and let the dog outside and left him there (omg! Am I going to forget about the baby in the future!?)…along with countless other things that I’m pretty sure I’ve already forgotten that I’ve forgotten. What is happening to my brain? At this rate, I’m afraid I will soon forget my way home. Someone will find me wandering aimlessly through the woods miles outside of town.

IMG 4070The poor, forgotten child

I am no longer a fully rational human being. Instead I cry over the dumbest things.

Like War Horse. And commercials. The other day I had a breakdown about some of the things I mentioned above. Totally blubbered away over nothing, really. And poor Evan had to sit there and tell me what a “good job” I’m doing with all this….as if I’m a little kid who is frustrated that she can’t master a new skill. I honestly don’t know how he doesn’t spend all his time laughing at me these days. I know I would…if I wasn’t convinced that my problems were SO LARGE and my emotions SO HEAVY. And I thought those emo teenage years were bad…

I no longer have any shame.

Okay, so I care about being presentable for work, but most of the other time?? Not so much.

The positive side of this is that for the first time ever, I truly have no qualms about my body. I’m heavier than I’ve ever been in my life, but I don’t change outfits because “I look fat in that” or feel self-conscious about those extra pounds. Most of the time, I’m flaunting the belly. Pregnancy has given me a weird sort of confidence that I can’t really explain.

The flip side is that I no longer have shame about things like, oh I don’t know…going to the store with food stains on my belly. Or wearing ridiculous outfits. My husband has never found me more attractive.

IMG 4074Who needs masks when you have running headbands?? Please note that we were using paint with 0 VOCs…and see point above re: lack of rationality

 I’m craving a good, hard, fast workout.

I don’t know if it’s the hormones, or the fact that this week has been pretty crappy in terms of running, but I feel like a drug addict in need of a fix. You know, because I have so much experience in that area (moving on…). I think I’ve been doing pretty well so far with adjusting to my new speed and getting excited during times when I am able to push a bit. But lately my cravings are getting worse. It’s just been so long since I’ve felt that feeling of flying, you know? And 2014 is still so far away. I’m telling myself that this is a phase…it will pass and the craving will fade. In the meantime, I need to find a way to a way bottle up all these feelings and use them as motivation for next year.

See also: please remind me of all this in 6 months when I’m inevitably complaining about training! 

(Related): I have serious, certifiable, full-blown race envy.

The 100 on 100 Relay came through my town last week, Hood to Coast is going on this week, peak marathon season is right around the corner, and everywhere I look people seem to be gearing up for (or running) another big race.

Yes, I know my “condition” is of my own choosing. And yes, I know I could have timed it so that I would’ve at least gotten in one good spring race instead of facing an entire calendar year(!!) without one, and yes, I also realize that life is about a heck of a lot more than racing. However, race envy does not always respond to logic.

I thought I would appreciate the downtime. That I’d use it as a way to recharge and escape the burnout from constant training. Although I’m sure that’s true to some extent, it still doesn’t change the facts. I miss racing. I miss it even more than I thought I would. I miss the fatigue of training, the dread of a long run or hard workout, the pre-race I-need-to-puke-right-this-second nerves, the sheer utter exhaustion and dark mental battles in the later miles, and of course, the elation of a finish line that makes it all worth it.

Yep…I seriously sound like an addict. Please send help.

Meanwhile, I have become addicted to Googling all things baby — nurseries, cloth diaper reviews and patterns, furniture, accessories, gear reviews, outfits…you name it.

I did not expect to lose myself in the vortex of baby-crazies. I thought I was way too rational and well-rounded for that (but again, see above). I tell myself it’s filling the void left by the race planning and training plan obsessing. But to be perfectly honest, I’m totally into it. I don’t even know who I am anymore.

cheesebaby onesieThe best onesie ever made. Cheese Baby will wear this every single day of her life.

I am not enjoying the “sit down, put your feet up…no! don’t you worry about that!” part of pregnancy. At all.

Well, unless we’re talking about cleaning the litter box. Or doing the dishes at night. I’m perfectly happy to pull the pregnancy card to get out of those chores (not having to go near the litter for 9 months has got to be the best perk of pregnancy). But the rest of it drives me sort of crazy. I know people only say these things out of consideration. And sure, some days I love putting my feet up and doing absolutely nothing…or wish a swarm of fairies would come in and magically clean my house for me. But I’m not fragile. And I really sort of hate being treated that way. Plus, does anyone really want to spend their entire pregnancy thinking about/doing nothing but being pregnant?

(Speaking of which…) I do not love everything about being pregnant.

This is the hardest thing for me to confess. And the hardest thing to write about without sounding like an entitled, whiny brat. But let me try to explain…

I don’t hate being pregnant. From a physical standpoint, I’m very happy that my pregnancy hasn’t been all that bad. I’m thankful that the baby is healthy. I am in awe of the changes my body is making to support life. Think it’s cool to track my growth every week. I get a kick out of listening to her heartbeat and feeling her move. I love sitting really still when she’s dancing around in my stomach and imagining what she’s going to be like.

But there’s this perception that women are supposed to love being pregnant. We’re supposed to be in a state of bliss over the miracle of life, flaunting our womanly bodies that are working hard to grow a future generation. And we must be grateful for every minute, especially because there are so many who would give anything to experience this time of life.

We’re not supposed to talk about how hard it can be sometimes. The guilt that is associated with these feelings of inadequacy — about not being “good” at being pregnant, and (even scarier) at potentially not being a good/worthy parent. The emotional and mental side of pregnancy that can sometimes be harder than the physical aspect. And the dichotomy between these intense feelings of love for your future child and acknowledgement that you really are lucky to be growing a healthy human…and the fact that all this human growing isn’t really the most fun thing ever.

I hope this doesn’t make me sound ungrateful or like I’m miserable all the time. In fact, most days I don’t dwell on the fact that I’m pregnant and I’m able to accept the good with the bad like a normal adult. But sometimes I might just have a teeny-tiny pity party (I don’t know if we can really blame the hormones for that, but I’m going to try), and some days (weeks) are admittedly harder than others.

However, even in the midst of my occasional pity parties, I can still see the light. I read something written by a new mom or think about all the worries I’m going to have once she’s outside the womb and realize — this is only the beginning. And in some ways, human-growing might be a cake-walk compared to all this human-raising stuff.

Puts things into perspective just a little bit…

 

Runfessions

I have a running ego. Which is not really news to anyone who knows me, I guess. While I have no delusions about the level of my ability, I do take pride in being able to run certain paces, conquer certain distances…and pass lots of people. I’d like to say that said ego has disappeared since finding out I’m pregnant but…no such luck.

I may not be out there speeding up when I pass people I know or glancing at my watch near the end of a mile and picking up the pace so my split clocks in at 7:59 instead of 8:01, but I still do silly little things to make myself feel better about my current abilities. Like standing up straight and lengthening my stride to make it appear that I’m moving faster when I pass fellow runners. Or pushing the pace for the last mile just to see if I can get my overall average down just a bit.

And I hate catching my reflection in store windows…though I always look (I can’t help it!). I find myself excited for the days when I’m toting around a noticeable bump instead of just a protruding gut.

I’m also a running hypocrite. I would tell anyone else in my situation that she was being absolutely ridiculous and no one even notices (worry about yourself, you idiot!). But accepting the ridiculousness of my behavior has done nothing to change it.

Another way that I’m a hypocrite: I never really liked those “running for two shirts” (sorry, but I don’t!). Except now that I am pregnant I find myself wanting to purchase one so I can wear it on every single run. Again, no one cares about this stuff but me. Nor do they want it rubbed in their faces (#pregnantmotherrunner coming through!). But like I said, I have a running ego.

Speaking of which, how do we feel about the sports bra + pregnant belly combination? I can’t say I haven’t already been considering it…once I have a belly to show, that is. Hey – it’s summer and it’s hot…and in my mind I’m going to look just as amazing as Paula Radcliffe or Lauren Fleshman.

Pregnant lauren fleshman(Source)

Please don’t burst my bubble now…I’m sure that’ll happen naturally.

No matter how many times I go to the bathroom before leaving on a run, I always have to pee within the first mile. I don’t know where all that liquid comes from, but that urge seems to be getting harder to control. At this point I’m able to wait it out, but I’m starting to think that won’t last forever. So I’ve recently been trying to scope out some good “pit stop” locations along my favorite routes. The only problem is, I run mostly through neighborhoods and along well-traveled roads…neither of which provide for much privacy. My solution? I’ve been contemplating just “letting it flow” when the time comes. .

…or maybe I just need to find some more adventurous running routes.

Remember when I posted this story about my dad, which featured a photo of him racing in some sweet star-spangled short-shorts? Well, my mom had a matching pair (yes, they wore them during the same race. I love my parents) and has graciously passed them along to me. I cannot wait to rock them during the 4th of July 4-miler we’re doing next week. In fact, it’s pretty much the sole reason I signed up for the race.

star spangled running shortsI hope these still fit by next week. Though who am I kidding? I’ll squeeze into them regardless.

Now if only my dad had given his pair to Evan so we could match…

I have never been a morning runner. But you know this already. Pretty much every summer, I make a bold proclamation about how I’m going to start running first thing in the morning. But then after a few weeks I’m back to my old ways. It’s not that I can’t run in the morning…I just hate doing it before I’m well fed and caffeinated.

But now here I am once again attempting to climb back on the AM-run bandwagon (I fear I’m starting to sound like a broken record). This time because I have another person to worry about. Last week’s high temperatures made me realize that if I want to keep running through this pregnancy, I need to suck it up and start making morning runs a habit. The humidity in the morning sucks, but it’s better than running in 80+ degree heat. So this week I’ve started “LB becomes a morning runner attempt #5.” We’ll see if this one sticks.

I need new running shoes. Actually – I’ve needed them since April. But I’ve been holding off because I’m secretly afraid that I’m going to need something more supportive as I get bigger. I have to admit that I only just accepted the stupidity of this logic. First of all, the shoes work for me now, so continuing to run in my old ones will do nothing except increase the likelihood that I’ll get injured. And secondly, if the day comes when I do have to make the switch, I can put my Mirages on the shelf until post-pregnancy. Either way, it’s not a waste of money.

I still haven’t ordered them. Just like I’ve been holding off on buying new sports bras (well, besides one…but there’s only so many times you can wear these things before they need to be washed). I’m sure I’ll look back and wonder why I spent so much time making myself uncomfortable. But I’m stubborn.

I spend a lot more time than I should looking down at my feet when I run these days. Because I’m finally starting to see a little bump. And I have to admit that I kind of like the view.

pregnant running bump_14 weeks.jpg

 

Taper Confessions

I have used this marathon training cycle as an excuse to give up on all forms of strength training. I know this is dumb and I really have no excuse (other than laziness, that is). Not only does regular strength training help running, but I’m not even running enough miles per week to justify cutting it out.

These days, the only type of upper body strength exercises I’m doing is carrying my handheld water bottle on long runs (same thing, right…?).

Nathanhandheld(Source)

To make up for my pancake flat run last week, for this week’s long run I chose one of the hilliest routes by my house. Just for comparison, last week I started out at 3 feet above sea level and climbed a grand total of 107 feet over the course of 20ish miles. This week I started around 840 feet and climbed 1,236 feet over the course of 14.5 miles.

Second 15ish miles of my run in Florida (I re-started the watch after the first 5.5). Those tiny peaks are bridges…

Florida 20  last 15

vs….. 14.5 miles in Vermont.

Elevation 14 5 miles

On the bright side, it also meant I got to run down over 1,000 feet. Can’t complain about that!

And although those hills seemed to grow in my absence, I stand by what I said before — hills and cool air over flat and humidity any day! Maybe it’s because I’m finally getting used to this particular type of torture. More likely, it’s because the entire run was perfect. High 50s, a mix of sun and clouds, country roads, mountain views, falling leaves…in short, my running paradise.

Alysons Orchard_1Okay, so this isn’t really from my run. But it’s fall in New England…and I like it.

In the past, my love for running and my love for training have always gone hand-in-hand. If one was down, the other would be too. These days, however, my love for running far outweighs my love for actual training. My love for running increased dramatically after the knee injury. My love for training – not so much. Maybe it was too much, too soon. Maybe I’m just burned out on marathons. Regardless, it’s made me re-evaluate many of my running goals for 2013.

Related: I have dreaded my long runs this marathon training cycle. This one is especially tough to admit, since long runs are the building blocks of training. And if you hate doing them, why train for a marathon (great question)?? Unfortunately, for the past several months most of my long runs have been really tough — physically and mentally. Until yesterday’s. It was (by far!) the best long run I’ve had during my entire time of training. I ran completely by feel and felt so strong the entire way. Where has this girl been for the past few months? It was almost enough to make me fall in love with marathons again…almost.

Whenever I hear anything about the hills in the New York City Marathon, there’s this tiny snotty voice in the back of my mind that scoffs and says: “clearly they don’t train in Vermont!” Obviously I have no right to feel this way…seeing as I’ve only lived here for a few months and am still not very good at running up those things. I have a feeling I’m going to regret this attitude in a few weeks. So yes, you all can laugh at me and roll your eyes when I complain about how long the climb up the Queensboro bridge felt…or the endless seeming hills through Central Park. Everything feels harder during a marathon.

This past weekend, the Conkey men invaded Vermont for “Horror Movie Weekend.” We basically did nothing but watch scary movies (including the new Paranormal Activity 4 – go see it!!) for 3 days straight. Which means I’ve gotten about 0 hours of sleep ever since. Not exactly the best preparation for a long run.

Conkeys_horror movie weekend

But one benefit of being unemployed: there’s no real pressure to fit in a long run over the weekend if the timing doesn’t work out (or if I’m sleep deprived). Yesterday I ran 14.5 miles on a Monday afternoon, just because I could. And it was amazing.

I am convinced that one of our cats has made it his mission in life to suffocate me during the night. I can’t even tell you how many times in the past couple of weeks I’ve woken up to find him lying on my chest (combine that with the horror movie fest above, and you can see why I’ve gotten no sleep lately). When he’s not on my chest, he has taken to sleeping in other super uncomfortable, inconvenient positions.

IMG 1703This is no tiny cat, either…

I hate ice baths. Hate them. Outside of the torture I received in those metal tubs in the trainer’s office during college, I’ve taken maybe 2 ice baths in my entire running career. I can’t say that this is necessarily the best strategy, and I know some of you swear by them. But now that the temperature is dropping, the last thing I want to do after a run is sit in a tub for 20 minutes while freezing and wet. I much prefer recovery methods that involve dry clothes and warmth.

Luckily I get to try out a new type of recovery aid this time around. I’ve had e-stim in the past with great results, but I haven’t actually used the Compex unit enough to be able to say for sure whether it makes a big difference (stay tuned). But I do know that I’ll take twitching muscles over freezing baths any day.

compex procompressionCompex e-stim + Pro Compression + liquid carbs = recovery perfection

I haven’t actually thought much about how it’s going to feel to run Ragnar less than a week after completing NYCM. I mean…I know it’s happening. I just haven’t really let it all sink in. At this point I’m thinking denial is the way to go. I won’t let my legs think about the fact that they have to race again so soon after the marathon until I arrive in Vegas.

I think it is impossible to go into a big race without any goals whatsoever. That being said, my goals for NYCM are more in terms of “Priority A,” “Priority B,” etc, instead of being related to any specific times. 

Although I am excited to run the New York City Marathon, I have to admit that I’m even more excited for the pre/post-race festivities: a sleepover with Emily and Ali and a mini reunion with some of my teammates from HTC. Those things alone are worth going to NYC for.

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On that note: Does anyone have any great New York City Marathon posts to share? I want to read about it and get myself pumped up! And if you are running the marathon, you should read this post: Why the New York Marathon Is the Best Marathon in the World. While I can’t really support her claim yet (and not sure if I ever will…Boston has such a big place in my heart), it’s the perfect post to get you excited about NYCM.

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