Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

2009. Quite the year. Andra's first full calendar year.

In Lil Runner's style, here's my recap:

Biggest Surprise: nursing as long as I did. (Andra's adenoids, and the fact that she could not breathe and nurse, made me quit at 7 months, and that was fine.)

Biggest Accomplishment: I PR'd in a 5k in May. Not that I am even close to that now, but I am proud that I took on that challenge and followed through.

Biggest Disappointment: that I never managed to really want to run longer than an hour. I did a handful of 7+ mile runs, but without enthusiasm.

Biggest Challenge: going back to work. It's not a big deal now that she's old enough to play and interact and I can see that she likes daycare, and I like working (teacher hours!), but it was very hard when Andra was still little.

Biggest Transformation: Andra without her hemangioma.

Biggest Lesson: chill out. I stressed about things that in retrospect I shouldn't have: my weight (once I quit nursing it was back to normal), Andra (kid adapts just fine), guilt about daycare and fitting everything in. all works out.

Things I'm proud of from 2009: Figuring out a good balance of work/workout, even if it's not the same as before. 5k PR, plus a 4 mile PR (I wanted 3 PRs this year, 2 is good). Having such an easy going, laid back kid (not sure how much credit I can take for that one, but...).

Things I am planning for 2010: Master's swim (starts next week...gulp). Riding the trainer regularly this winter and spring. Half marathon (maybe spring, maybe fall, slow is fine as long as I get back to doing long runs). Olympic distance triathlon (assuming I learn to like swimming a little more). More cycling this summer, alone if need be but I will try to find other people. In general, trying to find more people to hang out with...other moms to run/walk with (my friend Jessica and her baby are moving back to Chicago in March, big bummer), people to train with. Reading more.

We're staying in tonight and cooking filet mignon and cheese fondue for 2, plus margaritas (yeah, I love those).

Monday, December 28, 2009

RA and Pregnancy

A couple links to the OTIS study I was a part of. The first has information about pregnancy and a bunch of common RA drugs. Somehow I did not see this before becoming pregnant, even though it was a 2006 publication AND I knew about the OTIS study. The second link is to the preliminary results of the Enbrel and pregnancy study that I was a part of. Just in case anyone reading has RA and is in the market for a kid!
I had 3 new commenters after my last post. It's fun that people find and read the blog, you know? I have been pretty bad with commenting on blogs lately...I have to clean up my bookmarks to get rid of the blogs I don't really like anymore (no one who comments here!) and make room for some new ones. It's exhausting!

So although I haven't been running, I have been on the trainer and spinning, and figuring out an NSAID routine to keep the ankle pain at bay. Probably not quite enough to run yet...there's clearly something going on in there...but Fred and I did take a good 45 minute walk yesterday (with one sprint up a hill, he likes to think he can beat me when I'm down...though in his defense he was pushing the BOB) and it was good til the very end. But I'm getting into the trainer thing mentally, and it sure is convenient having it right in the basement and all. (And, yes, I finally cleaned up the cat puke from Thanksgiving that was down there...though it needs more work than just that to become a pleasant place to hang out.)

Andra has healed up beautifully, as you can see below. I did something perhaps not perfectly kosher though. One tiny stitch had been inadvertantly left in when the rest were removed, and today at the pediatrician's for Andra's 1-year shots (we held off til after the surgery), the doctor said she could "probably" take it out for us, but she wanted "permission" from the surgeon. I did call the office (still waiting for a reply), but during a diaper change I took a pair of tweezers, nail clippers, and in one quick snip got it out without a flinch or a wiggle from Andi. No problem. (This was after much Googling about stitches and how you really could take them out yourself.) Now I have to buy Mederma for Kids so I don't have any lasting guilt if she has even the tiniest bit of evidence left over from my handiwork.

My mom knit this sweater for Iris and it was one of MANY recent hand-me-downs. So cute! Click on the picture if you want the huge version to see the scar/healing.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Still not running

I keep testing out running. I did 2 miles last week (including half a mile barefoot, just to see)** , 2 tonight. It's not fun. Not only have I lost fitness in the last month, but my ankle hurts. No way around it. The sucky thing is, some times during the day it feels fine, like I could run no problem. But it's hit or miss, and everytime I've gone to run, it's been miss.

I went to spin class Saturday, that was good. I rode the bike on the trainer Sunday, that was good. I am starting this masters swim in 2 weeks, that is good. I can still lift just fine, I just haven't been (but will start again, this has been admittedly a tough and crazy month). So there's no excuse to throw in the towel and not work out. But.


I can be a cyclist this summer, but until it warms up enough for my candy ass to get outside, I am missing running. And the thing is, even walking, I limp. So it's not like I can go for a walk instead. Which in my book would now completely count as a work out (and, has counted as such for a good year and a half).

It's fine sort of, in that I've never really had any injuries that have put me out. So maybe I'm due this. Yet, it's not an injury, and so that sucks. I assume it will be fine at some point, but who knows when. I will go back to the foot guy for an MRI and to try a cortisone shot if the prednisone I'm on now doesn't do anything. But of course, it's not a flare, it just IS, so the prednisone really ISN'T doing anything. Though it is helping my neck, so maybe it is a flare. I don't know.

**So about the running barefoot, I've been curious. Wendy has RA and runs a LOT barefoot, and says it has helped despite having foot issues. I did half a mile, which is actually longer than recommeded for starting out, as it takes time for the body to adjust. The thing is, my first mile with shoes sucked so much that I was just frustrated, so even though running barefoot didn't necessarily feel good, it did feel a little better, plus I had no expectations for it to feel good so it helped me not want to punch something. I'd give it a more serious try if running at all becomes more feasible.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Phew...Hemangioma Surgery Report

Before and After:

Thank God that's over. The quick version, because I have tons of emails from my students to answer about a lab that's due because I wasn't in school today or yesterday.

We were scheduled for a 10:30 surgery, so we got Andra up before 7 so she could have some apple juice (no solids, no milk after 4am, and we weren't about to wake her up then, so she hadn't eaten since dinner/milk Tuesday night). Drove into the city (about an hour), got to Beth Israel hospital around 8:30 (an hour early, but with traffic around here you never know), and had time for a bagel and coffee (felt badly that Andra couldn't eat but she didn't seem to care). There was another couple with one of their 9 month old twin girls there for a hemangioma on her arm (her twin had had about 7 removed 2 months earlier and the parents couldn't say enough about Dr. Waner and the results). They finally went in around 9:30, we finally went in around noon. Andra was a champ, didn't protest the no eating, no drinking thing at all.

I braved up and asked about the possibility of Dr. Waner looking at Andra's adenoids too. We knew they were enlarged, making it hard for her to breather through her nose (and hence smell, taste) and causing her chronic runny nose, and we were pretty sure they'd have to come out at some point, so even though I felt awkward asking, I knew Dr. Waner was in fact an ENT and so I did. He was so nice about it, saying of course he'd take a look and if they looked bad he'd take them out. So I was happy because I trusted his opinion.

Fred wanted to be the one to go with her while they gassed her to sleep, so my last view of her was a smiley baby pointing at the doctor's nose (the girl likes noses). Fred came back a little shaken up, but it was only about 30 seconds that she was crying.

We got an update around 1:30 from one of the other doctors, who said the hemangioma was a piece of cake (AND he took a picture of it for me...gross but cool) and that the adenoids did in fact need to come out. So out they came! Nice, because it means we avoid another surgery (and the agony of making the decision of when, and if, and whether...) and kill two birds with one stone. Down side is, recovery is worse. With just the H, we would've been out and home a couple hours later (we saw the other baby walking out soon after they took Andra up). In this case, they hemmed and hawed and decided to keep her overnight because her breathing was labored due to airway swelling from the adenoids and being intubated. Guess it's typical for under-3's and adenoidectomies, but since this was a bit unexpected, we were of course unprepared. No big deal. Recovery was rough...she was so disoriented and I swear she cried more in 10 hours after than in the whole previous 12 months combined. Seriously, the girl is not a crier so it was rough to hear. I almost lost it twice, but really that wasn't an option. She vomited ALL OVER me once (I saw it coming and just waited...what could I do? And did I mention, I didn't have a change of clothes?) and did NOT want to be put down. She slept a good chunk of the night on my chest, and when I did manage to transfer to her crib without pulling out any of the 5 things attached to various parts of her body, I got about 30 minutes of poor sleep before someone would come in and do something. Seriously, I was not impressed by the PICU nurses.

When they woke us up at 5:40am (seriously?), Andra was happy, pointing, bouncing, and we had a good day. She was exhausted and went to bed around 5:30 tonight, has woken once already but hopefully will sleep a good chunk of the night so I can catch up so I can go to work tomorrow (Fred and my dad are staying with her).

The two pictures above I got with my phone, the first still in the hospital and the second tonight at home. She needs to have the drainage tube removed tomorrow (hopefully) and stitches will come out in a week, and soon enough Dr. Waner says she'll have no noticeable scar at all. And her baby facelifted eyebrows will settle down in 6-8 weeks, they had to stretch the skin a bit to close.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Masters Swim???

Found out yesterday about a Masters swim program that runs for 10 weeks, is designed for triathletes, has one day for experienced swimmers and one day for people like me, and...meets from 8:30-10 at night once a week. Meaning, I could go. Registration is TODAY. I think I am skipping my short run to go sign up before taking Andra to the pediatrician for her 1 year appointment and clearance for Wednesday's surgery.

I can do this, right????

(UPDATE: I called to register. I DID IT. I paid money. So now I have to go, right?? Starts in January! Oh, and I guess now I could still run. I have tons of nervous energy though! But it's good...I only regret things I don't do, not things I DO.)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Gifts that feel good

I've been searching for a gift for my uncle. He's coming for Christmas, along with my parents and aunt, and my brother, sister-in-law and niece. My uncle is single, rich, opinionated, needs nothing and has everything. Kind of the typical crotchety old man, except funny and we like him. So far I have gotten him a mousepad with a picture of him and Andra (or, "Sandy" as he calls her...he figured when he got the email a year ago saying she was born, that Andra must have been a typo). I've decided that from now on, I'm just going to find a neat charity-type thing and send a gift in his name instead. So in addition to the mousepad, this year he's going to buy okra seeds for some woman in a war-torn country.

In my search for a unique way to help, I came across this site. You buy a gift card, and the recipient "spends" it by donating to a charity of their choice. What a perfect gift for a kid!! We were lucky and Andra didn't get much in the way of presents this year, but even so, the house is getting overrun (it kind of looks like a kid lives here now...we were trying to avoid that, we have a small house!). But seriously, what better way to teach kids to give. Well, probably there are better ways, but this is good AND EASY. And even for grown-ups...we all MEAN to give to charity, but honestly, I rarely get around to it most of the time.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Andra!

She's officially 1.

We had a great little party with a super cute cake my husband made and decorated (a hidden talent). Just family, very low key and fun. Andra played with the frosting on her little cake, but the girl does NOT get the concept of feeding herself, so we helped her out a little so she could taste it. At least I didn't have to worry about a hyped-up-on-sugar baby come bedtime.

She also learned to climb stairs today. Following cousin Iris was good motivation. And, even though we haven't opened all the presents, my favorite is the one from Iris - one of her old toys that Andra played with last time we were in the city visiting. Seriously, presents are silly for a 1 year old, but recycled presents are genius! I don't have to feel guilty that someone spent more money on a toy for my kid than I would (we only buy from consignment shops or tag sales) AND Andra gets a "new" toy.

The pictures are all on my husband's fancy schmancy camera so I can't post any here but hopefully he will put them online soon so I can post them.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

I love margaritas.

Just went out and had a couple drinks with two friends (Sarita, you know who you are). Super fun (obviously I never get to go out anymore), and they happen to be people who work out, so of course some of the talk got on to that topic. Point being, I'm glad I took my week break, and I'll probably take two more (just let me get through Andra's surgery) BUT THEN I AM READY! I am ready to run in 30 degree weather. I am ready to build up to 13 miles for a long run.

It's amazing what a few days off and a couple margaritas will do for my attitude.

Friday, December 04, 2009

On a completely unrelated topic...

I just spent a whole free period figuring out a lecture on the history of plate tectonics. And it was FUN. Too bad I just finished that unit...I kind of winged it...but I'll be so ready for next year!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

RA ankle

I'm giving myself a week with no forced workouts. I still WANT to go to the two classes I go to, I might WANT to go and lift another time. But even though I have last period free today and COULD make myself run, I am not going to. December is relax month. Then I hope my motivation will be back in January to step it up for a spring half (maybe in DC!).

My other reason for taking it easy, besides mental, is my ankle. I just made an appointment for next week to talk to my rheumatologist. This is so annoying! My RA is NOT flaring. It's just that my ankle is stiff and painful. Even walking. Not BAD bad, just ANNOYING. Normally you don't think about your ankles when you walk. I do now, and really, who needs that? My neck at the base of my skull is also bothering me and I think it's the RA too. I like my doctor and hopefully he will have some suggestions...change or increase medications, insist on a cortisone shot in the ankle, orthotics, physical therapy, prednisone (even though it's not a flare)...who knows. I don't think backing off on running will help or hurt, it's just that running (and walking) are uncomfortable now so I don't want to do them. And then there's the guilt for not wanting to, the fear that I'll lose what little running fitness I have retained, etc. But there's nothing to DO about it, I just have to figure out the best way to make the best of it. I'm confident everything will clear up (my wrists the last year or two have been so much better than 5 or 6 years ago) but I can't know when. The unpredictability of the disease always throws me for a loop. But since I also need a mental break, I will take all this for what it's worth and just give myself a few weeks to chill out. And hopefully not eat too much chocolate. And peanut butter.

Friday, November 27, 2009

C goal

Thank goodness for attainable C goals. At one point I thought if I trained I might be able to pull off an 8:08 pace for a 40:40 5 mile turkey trot finish (A goal). Clearly I was delusional, both about my commitment to training and about my willingness to push. Throw in the fact the the entire race was spent dodging and weaving around slower people and plenty who stopped to walk, and any hope of a "race" was doomed. But I was pleased just to run. Seriously, I thought I placed myself well in the mass start...looked like a few hundred people in front of me (3800 finishers in this race), and I could tell plenty of those people clearly belonged in the back. I felt a little badly because I knew I also should have been farther back, but what do you do in this kind of race where there are so many non-runners who place themselves right at the front despite the fact they will get in everyone's way? So I thought I made a good compromise. Anyway, when the gun went off, it took me a full minute and a half to cross the start line. There were probably a thousand people in front of me, from the looks of it. The first mile was 9:09, which surprised me as it felt much slower with no elbow room and all the weaving. Second mile was my best, 8:41, but by then I realized that not only was I not into going faster, it would've been tough even if I had been. Seriously, the race did not thin out at all along the entire course. 8:55 for mile 3, 9:03 for mile 4, and 8:52 for mile 5 just to make sure I hit that C goal of under 45 minutes. 44:41 chip time, which is an 8:56 pace. I got what I paid for...I didn't put in the training to do better, and I'm ok with that. It wasn't the most pleasant race ever, I did feel like I was working a bit. Weirdly, my body felt heavy and stiff while my lungs and breathing weren't labored at all. I wish I had been wearing a heart rate monitor, I need to find mine! Haven't used it since being pregnant...not sure why. Anyway, I think I haven't been doing enough road running and treadmill running is (obviously) easier (especially when I refuse to add incline to make up for that). So, I'm going to relax a bit until January and hope at that point I have the motivation to get ready for a half. I honestly don't think I'm going to worry about doing a FAST half (which for me would be near my 1:53 PR, even under 2 would be fast), just under a 10 minute pace. I don't need the pressure of a time goal, I need the desire and motivation to just have fun with it.

Two weeks til Pickle's birthday. Two weeks and two days til her surgery. Found out I have to take her for bloodwork late next week and the pediatrician said it would be traumatizing. I guess they take the blood from the arm just like adults, and I can only imagine that strapping her arm (or her?) down will NOT be fun. Truthfully, I'm more stressed out about this than tha actual surgery.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Maintenance Miles

I'm still not training for anything (other than this Thursday's 5 mile Turkey Trot, and "training" was a loose word) but I need be more consistent. With the time change and it being dark before 4:30 (with another month of shortening days yet) I've had a tough time working out more than 4 days a week. Two days (Tuesday and Saturday) are classes at the gym, so they're easy not to miss. Once a week I'm pretty good at working out during lunch, and usually I can manage once right after school. Sometimes a walk = a workout.

I keep toying with the idea of walking up early to work out after school, and even set my alarm this morning, but now, without a training plan or goal, I am kidding myself if I think it's going to happen. (It didn't, this morning.) So I'm going to try to get back to 5 days a week. I need to get in more running days (3-4) and make then short...hence the Maintenance Miles. I went today at lunch and told myself "Just 30 minutes." Easy, quick way to get in 3.5 miles or so. No excuses not to do that twice a week at school, one longer day outside, and...gulp...the Sunday long runs need to happen once I commit to a half in the spring.

I think January will see me getting out on Sundays again. Before then...not so sure. This weekend I found out a couple friends want to do a half too...and theoretically say they will get together Sundays, or even every other Sunday, to do long runs together. One I believe, the others, I am not so sure. One is my speed, the others a bit slower, but I DON'T CARE. If they will show up, I will run with them. Because I don't have the drive to do it myself. Especially not in winter!

Friday, November 13, 2009

We're moving...

Crawling, that is. Andra started a couple weeks ago and right now is the first time she's crawled away to go explore on her own. Naturally, she went into the cat's room (the sun room). She is happily playing with the catnip toys as Pokey watches safely out of reach on the couch.

I was moving too...ran at lunch today. I almost couldn't, when I got to the fitness center there was a gym class about to go in, but when I asked the teacher if I had any chance of getting one, she kept the class outside until I changed and ran in to claim one! I didn't even stop to pee for fear of not getting the treadmill so that kind of sucked, but beat not running at all since I actually had the motivation today. All the kids would have done is walk, and there are tons of stationary bikes for them to pretend to work out on, and only 3 treadmills. So I was happy!

We're going to see the Michael Jackson movie tonight, and then out for a quick bite to eat. This is the first time someone other than Fred or me will put Andra to bed. She will be fine and it's time, but I will worry! The babysitter is a former student, now a senior and she's taking AP child development (who knew there was such an AP course) so she's well qualified!

(update...of course they had a fabulous time, as did we!)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hemangioma musings...

Just a little fall picture. This shows how big her hemangioma is. I really don't even notice it anymore, but every now and then I'm like, wow, that's big! I try to see, when we're out, if I notice people looking at her. They do. But then, when I put a hat on her and the H is covered up, they also look (presumably because she's JUST THAT CUTE). So since people look regardless, it's become no big deal. Except when kids say something. Now kids are kids, but man can they be tactless. So, I am glad we are having it removed. Except I really do think she's going to look...different. Sigh.


Had a pleasant run yesterday after school in great warm temps. Ran from school, almost 5 miles of a route I ran once or twice in the spring. It's nice to be at the point where, when I remember good runs from the past, not all of those runs are from pre-baby days! I ran a little under a 9 min/mi pace, felt great. Ankle was bad Saturday (bad enough that I opted out of some of the jumping stuff in boot camp) but a little extra naproxen and it has been fine since. Go figure.

So I don't do long runs anymore. Everything I run is 4-6 miles. Which is fine since I'm not training for anything, but I'm going to have to figure out how to do them again if I want to do a spring half.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Ankle again

Andra's back in full swing...happy again (we had a fussy couple of days, highly unusual), crawling like a champ, and getting much better at standing without falling over (for a couple seconds at least!). We just found out the insurance company WILL pay for her hemangioma surgery (well, 80% of it since the doctor is out of network) which is now scheduled for December 16, 4 days after her birthday. I bought her a strawberry hair clip off of etsy for post-surgery, because I think she will look really different without the hemangioma and it will take me some time to get used to her without a big red thing on her head! So the clip will be a transition object for me!

My ankle has been a pain in the ass lately. For the past 3 weeks or so it's been bothersome. Not enough to stop my running of course. But it does hurt. It's similar to one of the many ways my wrists have felt, so it's not really freaking me out, more like grossing me out. Yesterday I managed the usual 5.5 mile loop just fine, but a number of times, my ankle would randomly crunch. It was not painful, just that creepy crepitus where it sounds and feels like bones and junk crunching around in there. Icky. I have two things to do as I wait this phase of the RA, I need to talk to my rheumatologist again about if I should push for the cortisone injection, and two, talk to my friend who is a massage therapist and set up a few short sessions where she will work on all the tendons and things in my left leg. She did this for my wrists/arms once and it was really amazing. And possibly after the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving I might try a couple weeks without running and see if it helps? I don't think it will though. This isn't an injury that will heal. It's a degenerative condition, and so my thought is to use it while I can! Which I anticipate being a LONG time, but still...

Does anyone else compose really eloquent, interesting blog posts in their heads while out running, and then when the time comes to actually write, it's all gone? Sigh...

Saturday, October 31, 2009


This is a low quality cell phone picture. I am going to put better ones on later...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Plodders Need Not Apply?

What's your take on this New York Times article about slow people running marathons?

The best part is that one of the people quoted complaining about the slow people ran her marathon in it's not as if she's exactly in danger of winning a marathon anytime soon herself.

And as usual, the comments are more fun than the article itself...I'm slowly making my way through all 400 if I can!

(And for credit, I found the article through this blog! She somehow dug up the email addresses of two of the people quoted in the article, I wonder if anyone who reads her blog had the nerve to actually write them!)

Thursday, October 22, 2009


70 degrees, planned track workout after school...and Fred calls to say Andra needs to go to the doctor. He took her while I found a sub for the rest of the day, wrote out plans for today and tomorrow, and generally kind of freaked out. Turns out she has croup. That sounded bad to me when he told me over the phone, and I didn't have time to Google it, so I expected it to be kind of bad when I got home around 10:30. But, no, same happy kid (with a drippy nose of course). I guess with croup, it's especially bad at night but tends to improve during the day. So I missed this morning's barking like a seal, but will probably get to hear it tonight. The doctor prescribed a corticosteroid to help the inflammation though, which should help.

I don't like that I don't see Andra most mornings. It's what works, in that she sleeps til 7:30 or 8 and if I got her up before I left at 7, that would mean Fred would have to get up early (not something he would like). He did really well, though, he knew something was wrong and took care of it. (I probably would've still taken her to daycare...I mean, seriously, when the kid is happy all the time I'm not sure how you're supposed to know when they're too sick).

So, no speed work today, but we'll do a BOB run. Close enough.

UPDATE: hour BOB walk with Jessica and Kate, then a late night speed workout at the gym. It was short, only 3.5 miles (1@7:18, .5@8ish and .25@7ish) because my ankle was acting up. Weird, it's never done this. Felt weak, sort of like it was going to give out when I was running hard. It cracked on its own once, which helped for about 5 seconds. It's a little annoying, I don't think it's going to be a permanent thing but I do think it's related to the crepitus issue. Gross.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fun Run!

Had last period free today and busted out right after the bell rang, changed and drove to my favorite running loop. It's 6.25 miles (I thought it was closer to 6.5). I was seriously looking forward to this ALL DAY, and that hasn't happened in a while! Perfect weather. I ran comfortably, which was harder than usual this time. Pace was just under 9:00 miles, and that includes 3 minutes of walking a ginormous, steep hill. Similar to my 10k pace a month ago, yet this felt much easier. I'm guessing my BOB runs really are helping me.

I went after the run to pick up Andra and then to the doctor, to discuss getting a cortisone injection in my ankle. My rheumatologist doesn't like that it's been swollen and warm for 2 years now. No damage, which is great, but damage comes from inflammation, so...But the foot and ankle guy I saw (the same one I went to for my Achilles) didn't think it was such a great idea now. He said if it flares, come back, they'll do an MRI and then inject it. I tried to explain that the ankle doesn't really flare...I mean, it has once or twice, but it's a chronic thing, with a pain that is really hard to explain. He said he couldn't tell where to inject it (there are lots of places in the ankle I guess) because the swelling was minimal (I've been on a small prednisone dose for a 2 weeks, as switching to a generic drug 2 months ago caused things to just not be quite right). So...whatever. I did want to see if the injection would help the ankle feel better, but at the same time I was skeptical and so was he. The annoying thing lately is that when I'm doing lunges and bending the ankle like that, it crunches...I guess crepitus is the correct term. I think once I posted about crepitus in my wrists. That is gone now, yay, but it's really just an icky, creepy sound and feeling.

Thanks to those who said teaching is in fact a good thing to do...I don't disagree, it's just that I think anything from the outside looks better than from the inside. Honestly, I might connect in a lasting way with a couple kids a year. The rest are, by and large, really nice pains in the ass. Maybe after 9 years it's just a little stale, and I don't really want to put much more into it at the moment. I'd rather sit around and wonder what else I can be when I grow up!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Whatifs

Every month (or quarter? not sure) I get my college's alumni magazine. I went to Williams College, which has more than its fair share of alums with impressive jobs, inspirational lives, etc. I always feel an odd twinge of something when I see it in the mailbox, and put off actually opening it until I have enough quiet time to deal with the feelings of inadequacy that come with seeing how people with the same college experience as I have done such important, "successful" things with their lives. Don't get me wrong, I really like my life, especially now that I have Andra. Yet, there's always the what ifs...(Shel Silverstein wrote a great poem about the Whatifs, I found it again here.)

What if I hadn't dropped out of grad school the first time?
What if I'd gone to law school, or vet school, instead of teaching school (ha, that sounds so lame)?
What if I hadn't taken this particular job in Connecticut?
What if I'd studied abroad in college?
What if...on and on and on....

At any rate, some days I play this game a lot. Sitting at Starbucks grading last weekend, I looked around at the clientele. I got to thinking along the lines of, what if I'd married that guy in loafers and a polo shirt with his collar turned up, probably someone in finance who comes from old money...would I then be like his wife, clearly more concerned with fashion and ordering the right coffee drink that with what is going on in the world? What if I'd gotten in with her kind of crowd (arguably hard NOT to do in this area), would I, too, care about my shoes and sweaters and give up my preferred jeans and fleece look? (Despite what that might sound like, I wasn't thinking mean thoughts about these was just what if (and a nice distraction from grading)).

I guess it makes me just wonder if I'm doing enough. Sometimes I feel pretty uninspired, uninspiring on some important level. Probably something everyone feels! Even those whom I would consider the inspiring ones.

To resolve some of those issues, I've decided to "go back to college." I looked online at Williams' course catalog, hoping to find a course I wanted to take, with a plan of emailing the professor for the syllabus and reading list and just pretending I had all these assignments. I got a bit overwhelmed with the reality of that though, and opted instead to start reading some non-fiction books I'd forgotten I wanted to read. I'm almost done with my first, Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma. At the very least, I want to start THINKING again.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Found it...

I tried to find the speed workout after school yesterday (yes, Mama Simmons, we do have a track...I opted for the warmer treadmill though!). I hemmed and hawed (what does that exactly mean) and probably loked pretty funny as I went down a few stairs toward the fitness center, changed my mind and went back up, went outside, went back in...but finally I did make it to the coaches' locker room. I procrastinated a bit more talking to another teacher, then went in to change. Only to realize that I only had one shoe. I took that as fate and went home. (The other shoe was in my car, but it was too late...I wasn't going back.)

So yesterday was a wash (Andra and I went swimming instead!) but today I dutifully brought the same bag (with 2 shoes this time) back to school and went running at lunch. 4 miles total, 1 at 8:00, 2 x .5@ 7:30, 1 x .25 @ 7:00, with 10:00 pace in between it all. Quick shower, and my E period is coming in for class right now!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Where is that speed workout????

Somehow despite not paying much attention, I am firmly 1 pound above my pre-pregnancy weight. Which was also my marathon weight. So, I think I need to stop thinking in those terms and just realize that I'm back and what happens from now on is all me and has nothing to do with pregnancy or breastfeeding anymore! My belly is still a bit squishy. My abs are back, have been for a long time, it's either that my skin is still stretchy or I just have a bit more fat there still. But, the rest of me looks pretty much like before, my arms might even be better!

I keep meaning to add a weekly speed workout. I really DO want to run a fast 5 mile Turkey Trot. But...somehow that particular workout is eluding me. I've been great at 5 mile BOB runs, and have been not only enjoying them but pushing it, loving the hills, feeling it in my butt as I power up them. I've been running 3 days a week, which is pretty good and fairly normal even in my pre-baby life. Four days would be better (especially if #4 was the speed...).

I've been training a little bit with Bea and Sarita (Sarita, that's twice you've been mentioned! And yet you never comment, so this might be it unless you respond here...even anonymously!). Sarita has recently become very committed and has invited me to join her training sessions so she doesn't cheat as much. Competition is good! And it's been fun for me, I swear I do work hard when I lift by myself, yet it's nothing like being trained. Bea's good, what can I say!

I took one of Bea's spin classes Monday (no school) and it has been a LOOONG time since I spun. I miss it! But I can pretty much never take a weekday class as the early ones are too late and the evening ones are too early. Oh well! More running.

Ok, and one more thing I just noticed...Andra's name is in this blog! musclesANDRA. How weird is that???

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

WebMD piece is up!

And I don't think I look or sound stupid!

Click here!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

BOB run

Great BOB run today. 5 miles in 47:00 (9:25 pace), plus a half mile walk home. Felt strong. It's much better running now that it's not summer.

I'm going to start doing a speedwork session every week again to prepare for a 5 miler on
Thanksgiving. Time to beat (2007) is 41:19, 8:16 pace. Would love 40:40, which would be 8:08 pace which was my 10k PR pace. I wanted 3 PRs this year post-baby, and I have 2 (5k by 3 seconds, and 4 mile). This is doable.

I say all this, but I am not super dedicated to the cause. I will accept an 8:40 or better pace. Eh. At least it's fun!

The pickle costume was too small...a bit too narrow (at least for a cloth diaper butt) and way too short to go over her head. BUT, I know what I'm doing and can whip up a better one in 15 minutes!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Running articles - good reads

Two articles my friend Sarita sent me from the New York Times...good reading.

This one is about the social aspects of marathon training.

This one is about running with the jogging stroller.

Both worth a read!!!

AND...I made a pickle costume. I had vague guidelines from this site and after much trial and error I have the basic shape, but it's possible it might be too small. No big deal if I have to start over now that I know what I'm doing. I will try it on Andra tomorrow and if it works, put on the finishing touches!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Fall running

Did a 6 miler after school yesterday in the cool fall weather! I realized 5 minutes in that I'd forgotten my iPod, but I didn't miss it at all. I ran an old route I used to love (probably for a nice long gradual downhill stretch I always feel strong in). Slower probably than usual (about a 9:45, relaxed pace) but lately I always seem to start runs consciously slow. I think it might be a fear that I can't sustain a fast pace, or that it'll hurt too much, but maybe it's good thing that I'm letting myself warm up a bit and mentally get into the run first. At any rate, I had fun and felt good.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Still waiting

WebMD piece not up, they appear to be at least one "episode" behind based on the schedule on the site. Frustrating!!! This was so long ago, it sucks to have had to wait so long and now just to wait more! Hopefully it will be worth the wait and I won't seem like a total dork.

Not much working out lately. Got strep throat again last week (just had it in August), which wiped me out. Was better by Friday, so I took Andra swimming at the Y and then tried to run 4.5 outside with her. I ran about half of it, but then between some stomach issues and my ankle, walked the other half. It was ok though. Boot camp Saturday left my glutes incredibly sore (we jump a LOT in that class, and I haven't been in a couple weeks) and my shoulders too. I have no excuse for the shoulders, if I did more push ups on my own it would totally help. Nothing Sunday (except a nap on the couch!) and today was a walk with Melissa an her 2 week-old baby Shea. Tomorrow I will get back on track!

It's nice to have no pressure in terms of working out, but that's at the expense of having no goals. A definite trade off. I need to find an early spring half marathon...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

RA news

In RA news, I saw my rheumatologist Thursday and he wants me to get a cortisone injection in my ankle because of the lingering swelling. Usually I'm the one pushing for these things, but he suggested it, after I get new x-rays to see if there's any damage yet. (Weirdly, he said my x-rays 2 years ago showed some slight erosions in my right ankle...yet it's my left, and only my left, that bothers me.) It has been bugging me more lately. Running tends not to be too bad for the most part, but walking AFTER I run definitely leaves me looking and feeling like an old lady. I love my ankle brace, but I want it to squeeze even more.

Here's the best way to describe the pain (in the joint at least...there's some pain in the soft tissue too that I can't describe): it's like the ankle really really really needs a good hard jerk and twist so that it will crack. The problem is that I don't have full range of motion and so actually doing that would hurt beyond belief. Sometimes I get "lucky" and I will have a few steps of intense pain followed by a spontaneous crack that makes me smile because it feels so good (after). But I have no control over when this happens which is frustrating! Although most of the time it just feels a little swollen, but not painful. Although my doctor believes I must have a super high pain tolerance to still be running, lifting, and (he just shook his head at this one) playing soccer. It's not necessarily true...though I did give birth without an epidural, so just maybe I can tolerate pain slightly better than average.

Supposedly this Thursday I will have my WebMD piece put up, 7 months later! I will link to it then.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

10k race report

Beautiful (slightly hot) weather for the 10k today. Jen came with me, and Sarita ran the 1.5 mile loop race. This race starts at 1pm, on the beach, so I got there after putting Andra down for her nap which was nice that she slept most of the time I was gone. (She's been sick, with a cold for 9+ days and a bout of real vomiting last night, though she seemed better today if uninterested in food.)

I wasn't sure what to expect, which seems to be the case a lot lately as I haven't officially been training, just kind of doing whatever I feel like. Which is ok, it just leaves me kind of unsure what my race goals should be. After my pathetic run with Natalie Sunday (I've decided to blame the talking...or rather, attempt at talking between gasping breaths...for the slow pace), I ran 3 more times last week with the BOB (Mon, Thurs and Fri) which put me at 20 miles for the week. Not bad. The BOB runs felt ok, probably because I wasn't trying to talk up the hills!

My ultimate goals for today were to run steady (something I managed to do in the 5k a few weeks ago, which felt good) and run a sub-9:00 pace. I thought I could maybe pull an 8:45 pace, but anything more didn't seem remotely possible at this point. Back in May on a pretty flat course I ran a 54:38 (8:48 pace) 10k. I didn't actually remember that until I just now looked back. At any rate, my time was approximately 54:15 today (official results say 54:23, still 8:45 pace) which would be exactly an 8:45 pace. Plus I did run reasonably steady, for a while anyway...approximate splits were 8:20, 8:25, 8:54, 8:24, 9:35, 9:14 and 1:10 for the .2 which I think adds up to 54:12, but official time will be a bit more. The course was the same as last year except backwards...for traffic reasons I think they ran the middle part (it loops) in reverse. It made for short steep downhills (the uphills I let myself walk last year 6 months pregnant) and loooong gradual uphills (which in reverse I would've sworn were flat!). I felt pretty slow towards the middle and end of the race. Not actually as slow as the 9:35 mile, but slower than an 8:45 average. I'm pleased, but just not sure why that pace felt slow. It sort of makes me want to get back on a training plan...I'm in decent shape and some focus, speedwork and upcoming cool weather could spell some results for me.'ll see.

I'm not sure how hard I pushed. My breathing was always under control, heavy but not like a lot of people I heard. I don't think I'm ready for really pushing it. Thinking back on my 10k PR (May 2007, before I started blogging) which was an 8:08 pace, I know I did push there. Today was more relaxed. I'm not saying that if I had pushed harder I could've done better...truthfully, if I had pushed harder, I would've given up and walked. I just think that mentally I'm not where I was. Good, bad...who cares. It's just different. But I'm happy I'm out there, running reasonably fast, even if my distance isn't back where I wanted it. There's time. And I really do think I'll run more with the fall and even winter weather. I don't like the heat. And I bought the weasther shield for the BOB so Andra can come with me even once it gets cold.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Better running

Inspired by my less than stellar performance when Natalie and I ran Sunday, I have been a little more disciplined this week. Ran 4.5 with the BOB Monday, lifted (at 8 pm no less) at the gym Tuesday, took Wednesday off (had to pick Andra up early with a fever), and today ran 5.5 miles (in under 55 minutes, so explain why running 10 minute miles with the BOB was easy but running 10 minute miles without it was hard enough to make me walk twice?).

Andra's fever was gone this morning (I know, because for the first time ever I took her temperature, sticking that thermometer you-know-where), and except for the snot pouring out of her nose at regular intervals, I wouldn't even have known she was sick. Though she did snooze through most of the run (thereby delaying her nap, which will lead to me having to wake her up in 10 minutes to make it to my own doctor's appointment this afternoon).

I feel badly that I sent her to daycare all week with this cold, but seriously, how am I supposed to know when to keep her home if she doesn't complain a little?

A few pictures...Andra with my dad when he was here being daycare for the the expression on #2...riding cousin Iris's rocking sheep...and one picture with the hemangioma cut out, although I don't really notice it, it's nice to have some pictures where you can concentrate on her cuteness and not the big juicy red thing on her forehead.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


This morning I met Natalie for a run! She was visiting her in-laws in CT and we met about in the middle. She was planning to run 10, which I considered trying to stick out but that SO did not happen. It was a little sad to realize that even running 5 miles was not easy. I've done that plenty on the treadmill, but add in hills, and I was done. We ran part of a rail trail that apparently was downhill on the way down, because after we turned around it was definitely all uphill! I could not run and talk by that point and forced Natalie to walk a couple times so I wouldn't die as we averaged our (my) somewhat pathetic pace of probably just under 10 minute miles. She continued on for a few more miles after we got back to the cars.

I am running a 10k next weekend and I think I am going to be slow and disappointed! I just didn't realize that 5 or 6 miles is long for me now. It makes sense given that I don't do long runs at all...but still! Not fair! Ugh. I need to rethink my workouts once it gets too cold for me to rude my bike regularly (probably another 2 months, max).

It was super fun to meet her though and talk about the babies, teaching, running...

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Pickle costume?

If anyone in the next month happens to come across a pickle costume for a 10 month old, would you let me know? My friend Jessica found a "recipe" to make one, but really, I am not that organized. I'd probably spend way more money than I could justify just to find one ready-made. And seriously, how f-ing cute would it be to dress Andra up as a pickle for Halloween?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Faculty Cycling Club

Last week a few of us decided to ride together after school and see who else we could get to join us. Luckily, of the 10 or so teachers who said they'd show up, only 3 others did, and these 3 were very compatible with me! Expecting more slow people, I did a fast 11 miles before meeting them back at the parking lot. We did about 15 hilly miles together in an hour, and then I rode 5 miles back home. So I totaled 30 for the day, and was exhausted! We will try to ride together for an hour once a week! Thanks to Lisa for the above picture.

My dad is here for the week being daycare as our real daycare is closed. He's loving it, and Andra is having fun. We all went to the swings after my ride.

First day of school was so easy. I don't get nervous anymore, I did a slightly new activity that went well, the kids were so well behaved (that won't last, I know), and it was only a half day.

Friday, August 28, 2009

5k Race Report

After much hemming and hawing, and despite Fred not making it home in time to watch Andra, I went to the race. (Dropped Andra off at my friend's house for a baby playdate.) And it was great! I haven't done enough races of any distance to fully realize that not every race has to be all out. My goal here was to run STEADY. As in, not go out too fast and then die by the end. With my lack of training, I figured an 8:15-8:20 pace was the goal, with 26:59 the slowest I wanted to be.

Despite the rain, there was a good turnout, including many of my students and the whole girls' field hockey team from the high school. I lined up with about 30 people in front of me, including some kids who I knew shouldn't have been at the front. I didn't know the course ahead of time, but having done tons of running and riding in this town, I figured out quickly where it was heading so I knew where the ups and downs would be.

First mile 8:25. Good news is I didn't go out too fast! Second mile 8:50. Whoops. Third mile plus .1, 8:36 (7:49 pace), for an end result of 25:52, 8:19 pace. That entire last mile was downhill and I knew it, so it was easy to speed up. This is one of the only races I've run the end faster than the beginning! It felt good, and I chatted with another woman during that last mile too. All in all a fun race! 7th in age group and I won a raffle prize of lunch for 2 at some chic restaurant in town. I knew if I didn't go, I'd feel crappy. I did go, and I feel great! And, the third woman overall, with a 6:49 pace, was...11 years old. Holy cow!

My toe did great too. I got some "dancers pads" for my shoe, which basically cushions around the toe joint and takes the pressure off. It's great! I'm not hobbling around at all from my Achilles yet either!

I think I could get into the shorter races. Before, I definitely preferred halfs! But, since I can't seem to get my ass in gear to do long runs, this works, and having done more, I like trying to figure out strategy and stuff. So, I see lots of short, fast, lunchtime treadmill or track runs in my future!

Winging it.

Blah. Rain canceled a planned ride this morning with Kathy, who was going to take me on the course of the 20 mile race in a couple weeks. 19 years ago she won it with some insane pace (20 miles in 54 minutes...that's fast). She has a kid now and said she'd never be so stupid as to "race" that race again, but encouraged me to do it...which I don't get except that she must know I'm in no way going to be going fast. We drove the course instead of riding it (it's super hilly and windy through backcountry Greenwich, CT and she gave me a good idea of what to expect. It sounds a lot more competitive (and scary) than I was thinking! Of course, I could just hang out at the back and ride more solo, but it sounds like if I ride even a moderately speedy pace, I'll be with a pack of people (on narrow windy roads open to traffic), not all of whom really know how to ride in a group (umm, yeah, me too). Anyway, I want to do it so that I have a baseline if I get faster next year. We'll see, it's in a couple weeks.

I'm supposed to run a 5k tonight. It's raining. I have to go anyway!!!!! Hopefully. I will not be fast, not even close to shooting for a PR even if the course is all downhill. That's mental as much as physical. I am not on any sort of routine which has led to more missed workouts than usual. I'm hopeful that I'll kick my ass back in line next week.

I am also winging it in most other aspects of my life right now. I used to be super anal about balancing the checkbook and watching money - now, even though we pay our bills every month, I'm just not into trying to figure out how to spend less and save more. Probably because it's not just up to me, but still. And cleaning? Eh. If it's good enough, it's good enough.

Definitely in a slump. Yet, in a few days I could feel totally on top of things. Just gotta ride it out!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Back to the grind

Back to school in the morning...will see how the new routine plays out. Since Andra has been sleeping til 7:30 or 8 most mornings, I can't really justify getting her up just so I can see her in the morning since most days I'll have to leave by 7. I'm hoping to push her bedtime back to 7:45 or 8 so I can hang out with her from 3 or 3:30 til then, and hoping she keeps her one-a-day 12-2ish nap at daycare. Or, if she needs a second nap, I can use that for a walk or run with the BOB. Whatever, it will all work out, I just tend to stress about things when I try to plan.

I haven't been doing much in the way of running. I did the 10k on the treadmill last week, and ran 3 super slow in the awful heat and humidity on Thursday night (or was it Friday?), lifted a couple times, walked with Jessica to the mall on Saturday (I didn't know we lived within walking distance!) to get in a workout and air conditioning in the same trip. It's even been way too miserable for me to want to ride. So I feel a bit sluggish. Combine that with my foot/toe thing, and it's a bit annoying.

I can't decide for sure if my toe is RA related, or sesamoiditis. Maybe it doesn't really matter, the symptoms are the same as is the treatment. I've been taking it easy, icing, and just ordered some pads to put in my shoes to try and take the pressure off. Plus, I was in the bike shop 2 weeks ago to get new insoles in my shoes and have them adjust my clips (not that I've been able to test that out yet). I'm going to go see our trainer at school this week too, she always has ideas to help. And I'm skipping the last soccer game tomorrow, as that was definitely a big factor in the starting this problem.

Planning to cut out of our faculty meeting early tomorrow (I'm setting the bar high for my attendance this year, huh?). Turthfully, we hang out drinking beer on the porch of this mansion in the town park while the new teachers have to play stupid games in front of all of us. After 8 years, do I really need to see this again?? I'd rather go for a bike ride...and be back in time to get Andra by 3:30.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Weigh in...

Double meaning in the title here.

First, my appetite has regulated (in some cases disappeared), and I've gone from 151 to 147 in a week, and stayed there. I wonder how much of the extra weight was water, as I think I've been peeing a lot more too! Whereas I used to have trouble with afternoon workouts because I'd always eaten too much, lately I find myself going into workouts realizing I am hungry. Not a better scenario! Need to get that discipline back.

Second, check out this post on Runners World's online forums, and the subsequent comments. Interesting. I have an opinion about the original poster, but I wonder if I would have had a kinder one had this been posted during my own pregnancy instead of after?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It is HOT.

Heat waves suck when you have no air conditioning. We've been hanging out at the pool and trying to find air conditioned places to spend the afternoons when it gets really bad in the house. Luckily, the gym is air conditioned!

Yesterday I lifted and today I went planning to run 5 miles, ended up doing 6 (plus .2 walking to cool down, just to make the 10k). I miss running! I like fall running so hopefully I'll start doing more soon. It's just been 2 days a week on average, plus a day or 2 cycling, a day or 2 lifting, and Saturday boot camp.

This is my last week of freedom! I have no real discipline right now, so going back to school won't be a bad thing. Plus, Andra has decided that one nap a day works best for her, so she's been waking up around 8am (goes to bed about 7:30), and napping give or take from 12-2:30. This is PERFECT for me to be able to work out for an hour after school, get her around 3:30, and not feel like I'm missing too much! Plus I think I have the same schedule as last year, which means I can squeeze in a lunchtime workout (longer now that I don't also have to pump then) once or twice a week, and once a week I'm done early and can get out for a longer run or ride. I'm ready...summer somehow is always just long enough.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Appointment

Today was our appointment in NYC for the surgical consult with Dr. Waner about Andra's hemangioma. We got there right on time...and then waited nearly 2 1/2 hours. It was a tiny waiting room with lots of people all waiting for one doctor. I expected to see more kids with hemangiomas, but this doctor treats all kinds of vascular birthmarks and tumors. Only three other kids had anything noticeable on their face. Only one little girl had hemangiomas (multiple, on her back). It was interesting talking to a couple other parents, eavesdropping on some other conversations. Not a bad wait...Andra of course was a champ, chatting up the other babies despite being on somewhat of a nap strike lately.

The short version (all I have energy for) is as follows:
  • Dr. Waner doesn't believe her hemangioma will ever go away completely. Ever. And it will likely be a slow involution at any rate, meaning yes, it'll still be obvious when she's 8, 9, 10...
  • Our laser doctor probably should have referred us to a surgeon (or at least discussed the idea) once her hemangioma got so puffy, as in beyond the scope of what a laser can really do. That irks me a bit. The initial laser doctor we saw (who ended up not taking our insurance) often refers patients to Dr. Waner. We looked into surgery all on our own. Not that it changes any outcome, just that it was a pain in the ass driving into NYC that much.
  • If we elect surgery, it would be an hour-long, outpatient procedure and after 24 hours Andra would not know the difference (as in, the recovery is minimal).
  • The best time to do the surgery is now up to 18 months (June) because the tumors (and/or the babies, I was confused) have more stem cells then and that will minimize any scarring (which would be minimal anyway).
  • We have to wait about 30 days to hear from our insurance company whether or not they will pre-authorize the procedure. Even if they do, that doesn't actually mean they will end up paying. But, supposedly the hospital is in network and they would pay the hosiptal costs, just not the doctor's fee, which is $8500. So presumably $8500 would be the maximum we would have to pay, 20%of that would be the minumum. Cheaper than we'd expected, not so expensive that money will factor into our decision.
  • Our decision is likely to go ahead and do the surgery. As early as late September, they said. We could have gone ahead and scheduled it...I needed time to just process for a few days. As much as I don't want Andra teased, etc., it's part of her and I will miss it, it will be gone so suddenly.
  • We liked the doctor. He has done a lot for kids disfigured by vascular birthmarks and doesn't turn anyone away if they can't pay.
  • Andra will be the same smiley kid with or without the hemangioma.
A quote from an article that kind of reinforces our decision that it's the right thing to do:

"If you came to me with a big juicy red thing in the middle of your face and I slapped you on the back and said, 'Don't worry, come back in five years,' how would you feel?" asked Dr. Milton Waner, co-director of the Vascular Birthmarks Institute of New York, at Beth Israel, which this month was host of a meeting of physicians on treatment and research. "How can you talk to a child that way?"

Monday, August 10, 2009

Z-pack and electric blue

Went to the doctor today. Definitely not just a cold. Got a prescription for antibiotics. Hope they kick in soon! Besides some walks and one slow 25 mile bike ride Saturday I have not worked out AT ALL.

However, my boobs finally gave up and have shrunken down to normal or below-normal size. Which actually makes me feel much thinner! Even though weight still hovers about 4-5 pounds above pre-preg.

I got new handlebar tape on my bike today. Electric blue. I LIKE IT! Tomorrow I'm supposed to go in and have them fiddle with my clips to see if I can get rid of the pain on the ball of my foot. Or help at least.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Wiped out

Sore throat since Wednesday, turning into a full fledged cold as I type. Swam half a mile Wednesday after taking Pickle into the little pool. (She has the cutest little frog kick and I wonder if I let go if she could actually swim. I am not about to find out though...although I have let go a few times when she's floating on her back, for like a second.)

Thursday I bailed on a ride with Eric as I was wiped out. Today an old acquaintance I was going to ride with bailed on me, which was fine as I still feel exhausted. Although Jessica and I walked for an hour today.

I don't like being sick. Makes me cranky and not enjoy things. And Andra decided she didn't need a nap today, after taking one 3 hour one yesterday. She was happy as a clam (and did have two quick car naps, just nothing real) so maybe she was right. But I like it better when she naps!

Also...I keep forgetting to put the minor RA things in here...the ball of my right foot has been hurting, maybe RA and maybe not, not sure. I need to have the clips on my bike shoes adjusted so riding is more comfortable. Hopefully I'll remember to get that done soon.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

My first duathlon!

Although by the end we were all so wet it might have well have stayed a tri. Philadelphia had some pretty bad thunderstorms this morning. The first started around 7am, right when I should have been getting out of my car and getting my bike to transition. The thunder and lightning didn't actually produce much rain at this time, so I got my stuff and rode down, got my body marked, got set up in transition. Then the first (of many) downpours. Luckily there was a really nice woman two bikes down with a big umbrella, and she shared it with me. We chatted, turns out it was her first triathlon, her family thinks she's a little nuts for doing it, she was nervous, and she liked me giving her a little pep talk. Unfortunately for her her best sport is swimming. And after keeping us hanging until about 8:15 (race start time was 8:00), race officials canceled the swim. Now, I was not unhappy with that at all, but I know a lot of women were, and I feel badly that so many first timers can't quite call themselves triathletes yet (including my umbrella friend). But, with all the branches and debris floating in the Schuylkill, plus that whole lightning thing, I was happy.

So the course for the Philadelphia Danskin/SheROX Triathlon was now starting out with a 1.5 mile run. Nice! I was wave 10 (out of 16), so it was still like another hour til I started. I knew I was going to be hungry...I didn't bank on the start being delayed by an hour plus. Oh well. While I was watching the other waves start the run, in the first was a little girl (8, 9 tops) with a prosthetic leg (the cool running kind!) who I think was part of a relay team. She was running with an adult woman who also had the same prosthetic leg. It was cool! I passed her in the second run and had to tell her she was amazing. There was another little girl with a regular prosthetic leg, and an older (maybe teenager, maybe 20s?) girl with two regular prosthetics. It was neat that they were competing, although I think it's too bad there weren't more was a little weird that the 2 little girls were the only 2 kids in the whole thing.

My results.

Run 1: 1.5 miles, out and back. I set up very near the front of the group, and stayed with the first 9 people for probably half a mile. Then I slowed a little, but I did push this one and finished in 11:27 (7:38 pace), although I didn't have a watch and didn't know my times til I got home. Still, I figured it was a sub-8 pace, it hurt.

T1: Although I didn't let myself walk (it was a ways from the chip mat to my bike), I did take it easy to try to catch my breath! Had to change shoes, everything was muddy. I was slow.

Bike: Yay! So I love the bike part. Tris (and now dus) are the only time I ever race my bike, and I just love it. The course was 2 loops, fairly flat but with 2 good hills and some other smaller grades. There were plenty of nice bikes out there, lots of bikes with tri bars (and a few bikes with baskets on the front too!), but not many fast riders. The first loop, I was not passed by anyone and pretty much passed everyone. It was really annoying that a number of riders did not stay right and I had to yell and slow down a few times. I felt super hungry (I had one Gu I took in transition) but around mile 4 I settled down and felt stronger. It started raining around mile 6 or so. I NEVER ride in the rain, but it was awesome!! The second loop, I hear someone behind me say, "On your left." My immediate reaction was,"WTF?" and I sped up. Then I looked to see who it was, and in a glance I knew she was allowed to pass me. We actually rode side by side a few times and chatted, nice woman. And faster than I, and though I meant to remember her number so I could check her time, I don't. I almost dropped my chain on a hill, and was passed as I settled down and reshifted, but I passed her back easily enough (though she remembered me in Run 2, we chatted, and she passed me then!). Then there was some 23 year old chick on a neon green bike who passed me. We leap frogged for a bit, I was really annoyed at her (come on, she had sneakers and cages, she should NOT have passed me), but I did realize that she was on her first loop, so that made me feel slightly better, as she eventually stayed ahead. There were a number of crashes on the course. It was slippery, raining, there were lots of turns (and turnarounds), and a couple downhills. I would have had much more fun and gone faster had I a) not had to avoid crashes (including one woman sprawled in the middle of the road halfway down a hill around a curve...ugly), b) not had to slow to avoid slow people riding on the left, and c) not remembered that I drove Fred's car to Philly and had to have 4 working limbs to drive a stickshift. Anyway, 15.5 miles, 51:03, 18.2mph. I had secretly hoped for 20mph, but that might have been a little unrealistic in the best conditions, which these weren't.

T2. Why am I so slow?? I had to pour water out of my running shoes, and I couldn't get my right bike shoe off for the longest time.

Run 2: 5k. At this point, I am happy with what I've done, and as long as I don't walk in the 5k, I will consider it a success. Way to set the bar low! But seriously, I was there for the bike. And my 5k time reflects that! 30:01 (9:41 pace). Not even the progressively worse (and, frankly, scary) thunder and lightning could get my brain to force my legs to move faster til the very end. And it seemed everyone was slow, as very few people passed me even at that pace (and with wave starts, it's not like all the fast people were already finished). As I was coming into the chute, I heard them announcing that the officials were closing the course, not letting anyone else start the run, and presumably not letting everyone who had started finish. So at least I can say I finished the duathlon, some people not only lost the tri but also the du! Bummer, but the weather was totally scary.

I bee-lined for my bike to get the hell out of there, but before I could (remember how slow I am in transition!!) TORRENTS of rain started coming down. Seriously, I have never been outside in rain like that. There were lots of spectators (many with small kids) whom I felt really sorry for, and I was super glad Fred and Andra stayed home (and had a great time, by the way!). The walk/ride back to my car (I saw a big tree branch crack and fall on a car) was miserable...rivers of water running down the road, standing water in the roads, hail-sized drops (but luckily no actual hail).

For me the downside of today was that with the closed course I have no way to know how I ranked. The results appeared to place me #303 out of 1000+, but after looking at it more closely I realized that that is not accurate as some people's times were calculated with an incomplete 5k (meaning, if they were 3 minutes into the 5k when the course closed, their total time counts thier 5k time as 3 minutes making them appear super fast even though they didn't get to finish the race), and I think that those in the later waves who didn't even get to start the 5k weren't given finishing times at all. I wish they had also not given finishing times to those who didn't finish the 5k so at least I could see how I did compared to those who were able to finish (though again, it would've been a mix of fast and slow, and I'm sure there were fast people in the last waves who were cut off).

BUT, I like duathlons! I knew I would.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Getting ready for my triathlon

Wednesday's bike ride was canceled due to rain so I decided to swim. I was sore from my soccer game Tuesday night so running didn't sound so good, and with my sprint triathlon this weekend I figured a splash in the pool would be a good idea. Despite having to buy new goggles at the Y because mine weren't in the gym bag, I had a great swim. (Keep in mind great is a relative term, please. And keep in mind it is not synonymous with fast!) I started out doing alternating breathing, which last time really felt horrible and awkward. Surprise, it felt good from the get-go! Not like I was going to drown, much. I also tried to pay attention to my stroke when I breathed on the left (normal) and mimic that when I breathed on the right (awkward). There's some little hand swiveling thingy I do that I think helps my body turn to the side so I get more air, less water. I felt better as it went on. I did 12 laps 3 times (yeah, I took breaks) which equaled a half mile. Based on that, the half mile swim in the Schuylkill River Sunday should take me...gulp...18 minutes. Yet, in the few tri's I've actually done, usually I'm faster than that (not by much). So maybe I won't suck, and maybe just MAYBE the fastest swimmer won't finish in half my time (always how I judge if I belong in a given race...after the fact, though). I also think I was faster when I concentrated on having my head down, as in, looking straight down rather than ahead). Is that true? I have absolutely NO formal swim training past the 5th grade.

Questions...wetsuits will probably be optional due to the water temp. Given that I have no chance of any age group awards (you're not eligible if you do wear a wetsuit), any thoughts? Even though I've worn mine a grand total of ONE TIME (in a tri in 2007), I'm tempted to do it because I will feel a little more bouyant and psychologically I might feel better.

What I'm really excited about, though, is the bike. In my last Danskin tri in Massachussetts in 2006, which was the year I got my bike, I came in something like 1075/2000 in the swim, but 72/2000 in the bike. So, see, I really do suck at swimming, but I'm good at cycling! And I think this course is pretty flat, plus it's a double loop. 15.5 miles. I plan just to hammer it out, and if I get screwed on the run, oh well! Because of course, I have done zero real brick workouts. But I really just want to go as fast as possible on the bike and then pick up the pieces in the run.

I'm heading to Philadelphia solo...Fred and Andra are staying home. I'm kind of excited! I weaned her for good a few days ago when she put up such a fuss nursing at bedtime that I said OK, that's the sign! And that's been just fine, and Fred put her to bed Tuesday when I was playing soccer. So they'll be fine. I just have to make sure not to really check up on them, and just assume all is peachy. It will be nice to have dinner with my friend Lucy and then hang out ALONE!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Speedwork is fun too!

So after I let myself off the hook for not being into running, I went to the gym and did 5 miles of speedwork (well, only 1.5 were fast, but they were FAST!) and thought it was really fun! I think I like the treadmill more than outside right now...go figure. But, there I get to watch myself in the black TV screen and pretend I'm a rockstar, singing along to my music. Well, not actually singing because even in the best circumstances that would be awful, but mouthing the words. I just prefer going fast for short bursts...I've always been a good sprinter. Why don't they have 100m dashes for adults?? Why is the 5k the shortest common race???

I also did more weights that day (Thursday), then Friday did a fast 20 mile ride alone trying to beat the rain (done!), yesterday went back to boot camp (my ass is very sore, apparently thsoe muscles do not get worked in my normal life), and today am supposed to do a slow 9 miles with my friend in 2 hours. It's gross and humid out. But, she is excited about training for the half SO I need to get over myself and go with her.

After a few weeks of Andra sometimes waking up in the middle of the night (vacation, maybe teething, but no teeth), sometimes twice, she's back to her normal routine and we even got 13.5 hours (7-8:30) a couple nights ago. The only difference now is that she is finally doing those 180 turns in her crib. I had the matress elevated because of her congestion, but I guess that doesn't work as intended when the kid's head ends up at the DOWN end.

**Update: I did run 9 miles. My friend ran about 7.5. Once we got close to home, she was done and I felt good! Probably because we were going at about a 10:15 pace, which was slow but comfy! So I turned up the iPod, and even tried out some of the moves I saw on this now-famous video. Hard to do while running. But I was having fun so who cares!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Weights are fun

My internal conversation about what I really want to be doing workout-wise continues. I should have run 8 miles this weekend, as I am supposed to be doing the 9 mile "race" this Saturday. I did not run. We were away in the Adirondacks, which was part of the problem. But when we got there, we spent a few extra minutes (to extend Andra's nap) driving an out-and-back course. Even planned where I could get water. was really hilly. Like, mountainous. And I kind of knew I just wasn't going to do it. Instead, I worked out in the fitness center and lifted heavy weights for 2 days (and ran one treadmill mile, I felt guilty). It was really fun and good. I have been really missing (mentally and physically) the boot camp and core classes I used to take religiously. Boot camp has just been hit or miss this summer between vacations and "races" which fall on the same day. I haven't been so good about lifting, and if I do, it's usually just upper body (which I'm happy with by the way, but my lower body is what needs the work). I miss the plyometrics, the lunges, the hurdles...things that aren't fun alone. Doing those things make me feel fit. Running, I guess right now doesn't. I don't want to abandon the half marathon this fall (and I REALLY don't want to abandon my friend who is doing these "races" with me, as this is her first half attempt and she's really excited about it), but I also just am not excited. I think I will try to keep up with the distances so it's an option, but focus on doing what is FUN. Which, right now, sounds like lifting, bike riding, and possibly even speedwork on the treadmill. Long runs, not so much.

(I think I've posted this exact same thing a while ago, but whatever, blogs are just kind of random trains of thought. It's nice to look back and realize I've felt this before!)

So the past few days in the Adirondacks we were basically at a church retreat as near as I can figure. My husband and his parents are Quaker (though Fred has been to "meeting" exactly twice since I've known him) and every year there's this thing where a bunch of Quakers get together and hang out. I'm not exactly a religious person myself (I went to church once, when I mistakenly slept over at a friend's house in 3rd grade on a Saturday night). And truthfully, there was nothing religious about this week unless you sought it out. So it was just a bunch of people at this kind of neat YMCA camp on Lake George, and everyone was super friendly and nice...and, kind of weird. In a crunchy, hippie, just plain odd way. But because everyone was very friendly, lots of people talked to Andra. She ate it up of course, just had the best time meeting new people. I spent too much time watching for people's reactions to her hemangioma. It was about 50/50 if adults asked about it, and about 100% if kids did (generally in the form of, "Why does that baby have a bump on her head?"). And while I assume the adults were staring at her because she's unbelievably cute and engaging, the kids were staring because she has a big bump on her head. So yeah, right now, who cares, but in a few years...argh.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Major working out this week. Double and triple sessions. Like Tuesday was a run to the Y (1.5 miles) with Andra, weights while she was in daycare there, walk back, and the core class I sorely needed later that evening. Wednesday, even though I was pretty sore, was a 3.5 mile run with the BOB and my friend Jessica (and her BOB) at a new beach park we found with a nice crushed gravel trail (3/4 mile, so we had to do like 5 loops), and then a 36 mile bike ride. I have to gush about the was SO FUN. Monday I had also ridden with Eric, we did 24 I think at a nice 16mph pace (not much but fairly typical for us, not killing ourselves but definitely a workout, it's hilly!). He said in 2 weeks we'd be ready to ride 40 with Bea (my former trainer, we all used to ride together but hadn't in like 2 years, and she's definitely faster than we are). So somehow 2 weeks ended up being 2 days, and it was such a great ride. Despite being sore and tired, it felt easy! We did apparently a scary hill (Mead Hill Road) that I'd done once, and there were a couple really steep parts but overall it was just so pretty (horse farms) that I didn't feel bad at all. I had to sprint past both of them on one hill, Eric tried to race me but I won (ok, he's like 52, but still...). In the end our average speed for the 36 miles was also 16mph, and though the last 3 miles I kind of just survived, the first 33 were awesome! So that just makes me feel all happy and stuff. Today was a day off, though Jessica and I took Andra and Kate to the town pool and splashed around a bit.

I had a girls night out tonight...I think the second since Andra was born, and certainly the most fun! Just 2 hours (dinner and then a drink, one was enough!) but fun to catch up. And dress up.

I made an appointment with the hemangioma surgeon for August 11 for a consultation. We'll see. I think my main question for him will be, in what situations would you NOT encourage someone to choose surgery? And to see if he would harbor a guess as to how old she'll be before the puffiness of it all would go away on its own. I think my husband is leaning toward having the surgery since it seems relatively minor (as much as surgery can be) but of course we'd have to see if our insurance would cover it, etc. etc. etc. I wish Andi would just go through a hair growth spurt or something so her bangs would cover it more.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

7 more and pondering...

I ran another 7 miles today (hadn't done ANYTHING since the last 7). Felt better, and I wasn't nearly as tired afterward. This week I need to ride my bike, lift, and do some speedwork. I find it super hard to stick to a running plan when I want to keep up with other things too. But I guess the big thing is just to get overall more fit, so it doesn't have to be all running all the time. I've missed boot camp the past few weekends, and will the next few, because of vacations and races (the "group long runs"). Plus I scrapped the core class when it started interfering with Andra's bedtime. So basically, I think I am just weaker than I should be, and that is affecting my running. I totally have noticed that my hamstrings feel much more tired than they used to. I need to make a much bigger effort to lift weights and do core stuff, some of which I can do at home so I have no excuses, but...I just prefer the classes. I actually think I can go to core this week since Andra's bedtime is later now thanks to summer and vacation.

I spent some time last week thinking about Andra's hemangioma. A few weeks ago I sent an email to probably the best birthmark/hemangioma doctor in the world, who happens to be right in NYC. He's a surgeon and he's done remarkable things for kids with dangerous and disfiguring hemangiomas. Now, Andra's is small, and purely cosmetic (not near her eyes, moth, nose, etc. all of which can be dangerous places for them). We are having it treated with lasers, but they've come close to doing all they're going to do at this point. They have greatly reduced the redness and probably helped stop the growth/spread of the tumor, but they don't penetrate deeply enough to do anything to treat the puffiness - hers sticks off her forehead about a centimeter, and looks not unlike the stump of a unicorn horn (in a good way!). Anyway, I emailed this guy a picture, and he wrote back saying that the lasers have probably done their job at this point, steroid injections (something our pediatrician had done to her daughter's hemangioma) would not really do anything, and the best thing to do would be to excise it - meaning, cut it out. Now, this guy is a surgeon. So of course he recommends surgery. And it wasn't like he was saying we should do it, just that we could. He gave me his phone number, and said to call in the evenings to best reach him (apparently he's a super nice guy, too). So I've been pondering what to do. I will probably call and talk to him at some point, that seems obvious. But the dilemma comes down to, is it worth it to have it removed? It will eventually go away on its own. But when? By the time she's 2? 3? 8? 10? There's no real way to know. It will start shrinking within the next year or so and gradually go down and away...but they all do it at their own speeds. Eventually she'll get hair enough to cover it. It's not really that big a deal, but would she want me to have it go away sooner? And (a question for the doctor) if we did remove it, does it matter if it's now or later, say at age 3 if it's still kind of big? Would it be easier and a relief just to make it all go away in a 2 hour surgery, or is the risk of the anaesthesia and just seeing her in the hospital for what is essentially an elective, cosmetic procedure not worth it? These are all basically unanswerable questions, and hardly a life-or-death situation. I have family friends who are in the midst of watching their second little boy wither away due to a mysterious mitochondrial disease, and so I'm hardly losing sleep over this decision, but still. The responsibility of parenthood is kind of intense sometimes.

Vacation Pictures

My niece Iris.
Iris not sure she loves second cousin Nathan quite as much as he loves her.
Aunt Mary, who named Pickle.
Loves her tongue still!
My favorite. Something about babies in hoods.
Swimming in the little lake.
Fourth of July parade.
Dipping her toes in Lake Huron.