So ... my blog had a major issue this past weekend. I spent Friday-Monday trying to get it restored. It took a call, several support tickets and a bunch of anguish on my part to bring it back. I lost one of my personally managed sites in the process. It was all sorts of sadness for me, especially because I truly thought I'd lost my daughter's birth story (even though I had backed up the database).
Posts tagged ‘running’
I'm going to count myself in the minority of new parents who get MORE sleep after welcoming a baby. I've been an insomniac since my first year of grad school. I rarely, if ever, sleep through the night. Instead I usually wake up four or five times, barely get back to sleep and then wake up again.
Confession: Running, for me, has become more than just a way to stay fit. It’s also away to keep anxiety at bay. A couple years ago, I didn’t deal with it as much. Today? It has a tendency to rear its ugly head at the worst possible times.
Throughout my pregnancy, I’ve been trying to run two-milers where and when I could. I had a great maternity support belt and near the end of my second trimester, I felt really strong when I ran.
That was until a couple weeks ago when I suddenly started getting sharp pains in my abdomen where baby girl is currently taking up residence. I thought, maybe, she was starting to kick up in my ribs. I stopped running and took a shower, then sat down on the couch for awhile.
The pain didn’t let up. I ended up calling the advice nurse. I’ve also had some foot swelling, which means my running shoes aren’t fitting me as well, and other “symptoms” during the week. My husband and I were kind of freaking out. Turns out it was likely just Braxton Hicks contractions, which are painful and not really threatening.
I was told to keep my feet elevated. Drink a lot of fluids, as I normally do. And maybe ton it down on the workouts.
The downside is that the activity has been really helpful in keeping my weight in a “good place.”
That’s my bump at 27 weeks. I’ll be 29 weeks tomorrow. I’m getting bigger and bigger each day. My center of gravity is WAY OFF what it typically is when I run marathons.
I’m also noting some atrophy of my leg muscles, which is making me a little sad. I’m gained about 15 pounds so far. The numbers keep inching up on the scale, closer to the 200 mark that I fought so hard to come down from four years ago. But this is a different kind of gain, obviously. I know that she’s gaining if I am.
The bottom line of the pain? My pregnant running is likely over. I stopped yoga for a couple weeks too, just to be safe.
The problem, though, is that the anxiety is starting to creep up again. In horrible ways.
Someone asked me the other day if I was “worried” about anything leading up to baby girl’s arrival.
I’M WORRIED ABOUT EVERYTHING.
The first trimester all I thought about was the risk of miscarriage. After regular bleeding the first eight weeks it was on my mind all the time. My husband, the optimist, kept telling me not to worry. But I had more ultrasounds in those early weeks than I want to admit. I kept going back to my OB just to make sure everything was going well. My blood pressure was high when I went in for those first appointments because my anxiety was through the roof. I just wanted to get in and make sure baby had a heartbeat.
The second trimester all I thought about was viability. Unsolicited advice often leads to worries, particularly when people who are trying to be helpful (I think), start talking about pre-term labor and preemie babies. I started to think to myself “I just have to make it to 26 weeks,” which is when baby’s chance of survival outside the womb increases dramatically. Every week after just adds to her chances.
I can’t say it’s not without cause that I’m worried. My doctor has noted my past diabetes diagnosis and those high blood pressure readings as reasons to worry. I’ve been told I likely will be induced if I don’t go into labor by my May 4 due date. In fact, baby may come early if my OB becomes worried about her at all. But ALL of those things just adds to my anxiety.
The third trimester all I think about is stillbirth. Statistics put the number of stillbirth at 1/160. When I spend time on my Baby Center birth board, though, I’m confronted with the reality more and more. It’s scary. It’s more than scary, it’s petrifying. My doctor and my husband told me to stop reading forums. I should know that myself after moderating forum comments for more than a year as an online editor.
If I distract myself during the day, I don’t think about it as much. But every now and then, if I don’t feel her wiggling around. Everyone keeps telling me that as much as I worry before she is born, I will worry more once she is here. I believe it.
Running kept all those ugly thoughts away. Now I’m relying on yoga to calm me. Baby girl isn’t quite sure she likes the yoga anymore either though. She’s been kicking up a storm when we do our last meditation exercise. And I’ve had to run to the bathroom more than I’d like. I’m thankful the yoga instructor has been very supportive of teaching a pregnant student.
On that note, we’re very much preparing for her to arrive. Her room is done, one of the things I made sure I did before I went back to school. Last weekend, my husband treated me to an early Valentine’s Day gift and we splurged on a 3D/4D ultrasound in a nearby city.
We found out that she really, really looks like him. I love the image above because she looks exactly like him when he’s sleeping. He has a closely-shaved haircut and that same nose. I was excited to see her face. We also confirmed, definitely that she is a girl. I’d been worried since our anatomy ultrasound.
It’s good she’s a girl because her name is already up above her crib.
My baby shower date is set. My best friend Jennie and my sister are throwing it. I’m so thankful for that.
And my husband is getting nervous/excited. He bought her some baby leggings a couple weeks ago.
The green is the color of my glider rocking chair. Her room is a mixture of sage green, chocolate brown and pink accents. Nothing over the top girly.
I’m excited that I’m “almost there,” but I’m also truly missing running and it’s ability to keep the bad thoughts at bay. I am starting to put together a plan for after she comes. Today I found out that I will be a See Jane Run Ambassador into the 2014-15 year. So baby’s first race will be the 5K in Alameda on June 22. I’m excited about the journey to get to the start.
I’ve started and stopped this post so many times in my head that I decided I had to finish it before 2013 was over. So today, on the last possible day I could, I decided it needed to come out.
A year ago exactly, I was 24 hours from an emergency room visit that led to another one, seven days later, where my gallbladder was removed during emergency surgery.
I remember looking down at the holes on my stomach realizing that the scars would never go away. More emotional wounds would open up in the following days, but my husband and I had decided, in my hospital room on Jan. 8, that I would not be returning to my job at the newspaper I once loved so deeply I could only imagine being dragged out dead.
My heart was broken because I knew no other way.
My wounds, in those early days of 2013, were both physical and emotional. My nerves were ravaged. My body was spent.
But those very trying early days of 2013 were also filled with an overabundance of love: From my husband, who promised me I’d find my path and things to “keep me busy.” From my close friends who helped me through and offered guidance. From my students, who showed me there was more to journalism than a city newspaper with declining circulation and staff numbers. From a former colleague who, without seeing any of my work, jumped on a chance to hire me as a freelancer.
Love surrounded me.
That love healed me in ways I will never, ever be able to explain.
And that love led me to her:
When I found out I was pregnant in August, I thought I would blog every single milestone of it on here. I worried about this blog becoming less workout related, more mommy-ish.
I would start posts over and over again, but something kept stopping me: a new-found need to keep private matters very close to my heart, between my husband and I.
I’m not ending this blog by any means.
In fact, I have posts about running during pregnancy written (of note, there hasn’t been a lot of running because baby doesn’t seem to enjoy it and likes to remind me of that) and yoga (that has been essential in recent weeks). I’m yearning for my 10-milers, while only being able to squeak out two at a time right now on the treadmill.
I surprised myself last week when I register for the 2nd Half Marathon of the San Francisco Marathon for 2014. My due date is May 3. The race is July 29. I’m hedging my bets on a hope that I’ll have a natural delivery and be able to get back to running quickly, for my self and my sanity. I’ve been missing my mid-length runs of six to eight miles especially.
But my center of gravity has recently shifted enough to cause me issues. My saving grace has been my Gabrialla Elastic Maternity Belt. I bought one on recommendation from another blogger. I can’t recommend it enough.
I’m getting bigger and bigger, obviously, as I get closer to my due date. My first trimester was rough. I slept a lot. I’ve never been more thankful for a forgiving freelance schedule and part-time teaching position. I was sleeping 12+ hours a day at one point. I fell asleep nearly everywhere I sat down. I also had to stop running as a precaution, for awhile, because of bleeding. (Sorry for the TMI, but sometimes this sort of thing is linked to running. My OB told me it was likely not the running. It happens to a lot of women.)
As I worked through all this, I realized that I didn’t want to share, let alone overshare, things about my life. Call it innate need to keep my private life private, but I just felt like not blogging every element of my life was the most appropriate action.
My husband has always been a more private person than me. Part of the reason I used my maiden name professionally for so long is because I wanted him to be able to keep that privacy. Scary things happen to journalists. My grandmother used to get phone calls for me because she was the only person in the phone book listed with the same last name.
I didn’t want that happening at home.
So when my husband asked me not to blog specific things, I listened and understood.
At 20 weeks, though, we found out that baby is a girl. Or at least according to our ultrasound tech, who said: “I wouldn’t tell you if I wasn’t sure.” I’m still having moments where I think we should maybe have that checked again. That’s my anxiety peaking up …
In any case, at 22 weeks I’m feeling as good as someone who is watching all her running clothes slowly shrink up can. It’s kind of been funny to figure out which of my workout clothes still fit me on any given day. As much crap as Lululemon has received recently for comments made by the founder, my Lululemon clothes are stretching nicely over my belly.
A different in belly shots, though you can’t really see much since both photos are shot at different lengths from the mirror. On the right, I’m wearing my 2011 California International Marathon shirt and a Lululemon Run: Swiftly shirt in my regular size 10.
I’m still very grateful for long tank tops that have extended the life of my regular clothes, though by the time I go back to teaching in late January I’m pretty sure it will be ALL maternity clothes for the next few months.
So there’s been a lot happening in my life over the past couple months.
I’m finally getting to a point where I’m ready to share my triumphs, fears, successes and apprehensions again. But after sharing so much in late 2012 and early 2013, I really wanted this first part of my pregnancy to be private and special to my husband and I.
I can’t promise a quick return or regular posts again, particularly because I still very much want this blog to be health and fitness centered. But I am letting myself add in the stuff about pregnancy and our baby girl on the way.
As can be imagined, I’m extremely excited for 2014 to begin. I’m excited about some potential (as in I’m crossing my fingers tightly) career happenings on the way later in the year, the amazing work I’m doing now (so many website builds, so little time) and, of course, our little one coming.
I’m also looking forward to eventually getting back to running more frequently. One step at a time. Always moving forward. Because now I know another way.
First: I’m a horrible blogger. I know. I want to apologize, but the truth is that between freelance projects, my students and a wedding I’m going to be in next weekend, I’ve been so busy that I just haven’t had time.
Second: I’m barely running.
The first trimester of pregnancy left me incredibly tried. This second semester has made me feel even more incompatible with pregnant running, especially now that I’m feeling baby more.
Because baby likes to kick me in the bladder.
And I’m ridiculously thankful for baby kicks, even if they are like little ninja chops to my bladder.
I’m also thankful for long running shirts that still cover my growing, nearly 18-week along belly. And Spandex. I love Spandex. Because you can’t go wrong with stretchy pants when you are expanding every day.
In the past three days, baby has allowed me to get THREE solid workouts in.
Right now that’s huge for me. I ran two miles, then felt like baby was punishing me for it on Tuesday. I went back to yoga on Wednesday. Then this morning I did my own Turkey Trot on the treadmill and ran a 5K.
I’m not fast. At all.
And I can’t handle the distance, which meant that I didn’t get to run the Inaugural Berkeley Half Marathon last weekend. But I’m still trying to put one foot in front of the other.
I’m getting there. But it’s kind of hard to blog about running and health when I haven’t been running all that much.
That said, I’m thankful for a lot this Thanksgiving:
- Baby, obviously. I’m thankful for the little flutters and kicks, even the nasty ones, that I’ve been getting lately. We’ll find out baby’s sex on Dec. 16 and I’m excited to know, even though it doesn’t matter either way to me.
- The little bit of running I am doing. I can’t handle a 10-miler, but I feel good even after a two-mile run. I haven’t been able to say that in a long time.
- Maternity pants. I want to wear maternity pants all year round, even if I am not pregnant. Maternity jeans are ridiculously comfortable.
- My job. It takes a lot out of me, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. My students surprise me every issue with their talent and creativity.
- My treadmill. I’m too afraid to getting too far from home right now. So I’m a treadmill rat. I’m not even sorry.
- Time with my grandmothers. I’m lucky both of my grandmothers are still alive and I am able to enjoy spending holidays with them.
- A bridesmaid dress that still fits. I got it big in May when it came. I’m lucky it came big. No extra alterations. At least right now…with 10 days to the wedding I’ll be in next weekend.
- My dogs. Because they are awesome.
- My husband. He puts up with me. That’s more than enough.
- My health. So far no positive test for gestational diabetes. All my blood sugars have been within normal range. I feel good. I know I will feel better if I am more active, but for now, I’m excited to be “healthy.”
There is a lot more I’m probably not remembering.
This year Thanksgiving gives me a lot of reasons to be thankful…even if running long distances isn’t one of them.
Over the past four weeks my stomach has waged a relentless war against me. Everything I eat has made me sick. Every run I went on suffered from it. Every training decision I made was marred by the fact that I couldn’t fuel properly.
And now, as the problems seem to be receding, I’m having to make some difficult decisions about the marathon I’m supposed to be running in less than a month. The likelihood is that now I can’t. I won’t be able to get in my long runs. I don’t have enough energy to do so with a very limited diet either.
I’m losing the war.
When my gallbladder was removed in emergency surgery, I was told, repeatedly, that my diet had to change. I HAD to cut out certain foods and drinks. There was no way around it.
But over a seven-month period, my bad habits creeped back into what was once a very clean diet.
Those bad habits include an very dependent relationship on Diet Coke. And a love of the occasional cupcake. Then there’s a horrible habit of overeating.
Over summer, when I was working from home more, my diet became worse and worse. I was still running 100 miles a month, but I was also eating a lot of burrito bowls. Then I was drinking a lot of diet soda.
In July, I realized that I had packed on some pounds. My time for the Summer Breeze Half Marathon wasn’t bad at 2:19, but I was tired the entire run. It was definitely not my 2:16 half time from June. I was sluggish. But I also just wanted to stop running again, half way through 13.1 and give up.
By mid-August, I was having digestion issues that were causing to me call and cancel my runs with Sam and Jennie. The two had started running early in the morning three days a week. I could, maybe, get my stomach under control one day of the three to run with them.
My diet was all out of sorts.
I reverted to treadmill running where I had control over my situation a little better. By situation I meant that if I had to go to the bathroom immediately, I would be able to quickly. I know that’s TMI, but quick trips to the bathroom have become commonplace.
So two weeks ago, I did something drastic: I severely cut my diet. I removed nearly everything that was making me sick, or that I thought was, and added everything back one by one, slowly.
It meant that for about four days, all I ate was toast with an almond-butter spread from A Loving Spoon.
Seriously, two slices of wheat toast with a little almond butter (which is made locally in Mountain House with all-natural ingredients), was the only thing I could stomach for about three days.
In a week, I lost four pounds.
This past week, I started adding fruits (which were really, really hard on my stomach) back in moderation. Bananas first. Then apples. No peaches yet. My one experience with pineapples this week left me feeling a little queasy, so I won’t be trying that again for another couple weeks.
I’ve had chicken, but red-meat hasn’t been good to me either.
I’m also eating significantly less, cutting my portions by more than half.
So far, my stomach has felt A LOT better. I haven’t had as many issues with rushed bathroom trips (this is a good thing since school started back up and half of the women’s rooms in my building have been torn down). Yesterday, I finally got through a six-mile run without trouble.
It took two weeks. I know my stomach is nowhere near “healed.” I know I did a lot of damage to it with a summer of eating bad stuff.
And these weeks where it hurt more to run than it should have mean that I’m likely going to switch to the half marathon at for the Half Moon Bay International Marathon. I know I could probably slog (slow+jog) through 26.2 miles, but I’m starting to feel like it may not be worth it.
What would my motivation be if I knew I wouldn’t be at my top performing shape? Just to finish another one? To tell people I ran a marathon that weekend? It just doesn’t seem worth it.
Plus, I have two more half marathons the following weekends that I want to run. I don’t want to injure myself on Sept. 29 and NOT be able to run the other races, particularly the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon, which will be my “Grand Slam” Heavy Medal finish (and my last for this year).
Perspective is telling me there will be more marathons. Experience is telling me I’m not ready for this one.
All I know is I’m tired of looking like I did above, struggling, at the end of a race.
So instead of gunning for a PR in the full at Half Moon Bay, I’m going to work on getting through my next couple races while trying to work through these ongoing stomach issues. I feel like it’s going to be a hard-fought battle … which I’m hopefully now getting the upper hand in.
I’ve had two false starts this week in my two runs. Needless to say, I’m not doing good with my training.
On Monday, me and both my running buddies all simultaneously felt horrible at the same time. That meant our five-mile run got cut into a two-mile walk. At least we got a nice view, see above photo.
Today, I missed my alarm for the five-mile run completely. I was even awake at 4:45 a.m. But the alarm didn’t go off. Or I didn’t hear it. At 5:40 a.m. I woke up to a text message asking me where I was.
When I recommitted to the run this afternoon, I decided I would push myself to eight miles.
I got two and felt like I was falling apart.
Maybe it’s because it is hot again here. Or because I’ve been busy with website work all day. But I can’t get motivated.
And school goes back into session next Tuesday. We hit the ground running with the first of seven issues for the semester coming out on Sept. 13. I know things are just going to get more and more hectic.
I wonder if yoga is really doing a number on me. I hurt more than I used to. It’s a good hurt, but still a hurt.
Or maybe I need new shoes?
Whatever it is, I need to find answers. I need to get out of this rut.
I just want a good run.
I had one of those “you know you’re a runner when” moments yesterday while my husband was stranded on the side of Interstate 80 above Colfax, more than 100 miles from our home in Tracy, an exburb of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Nevermind the fact that his 1998 Toyota Camry had likely climb its last hill, I was staring down a major sloped incline and all I could do was think about how instead of running out the door as quick as possible in my running clothes with sandals on, I should have grabbed my Nikes.
Well, I did grab my Nikes.
Just not the right ones.
Those are not my running shoes. And lucky for everyone who reads this blog, my black toenails aren’t showcased in this lovely photo.
My husband waited more than two hours for me to make the journey up to get him. I had to drop my freelance work after solving a particularly messy navigation issue with a more-complex-than-I’d-like CSS hack. I was about to celebrate when I noticed a call on my phone went straight to voicemail.
Then I had a text message from my husband that said: “Call me!”
1) My husband rarely leaves voicemail or calls twice to get me. 2) My husband doesn’t text often. I’m still not quite sure he knows how. He owns an old-school Samsung flip phone. We talk about moving him to a smart phone, which I’ve had for about five years now, but he never seems too motivated to do so. He just usually borrows my iPhone.
It’s with that knowledge that I present his poor, 1998 Camry.
He bought it five years ago. It’s his commuter car. He puts roughly 120 miles on it every work day (he works 9/80s, so he gets three-day weekends every other week from his engineering job in the Bay Area). He’s put 200,000 miles on it since he purchased it from a private owner.
We’ve known for awhile that it likely was on it’s last leg. But it was a good car and measured good gas mileage.
Photo editing note: I blurred the license plate. Because no one needs to see that.
It’s a little heartbreaking. Not a lot, though. He’s more heartbroken that he won’t get to go camping this weekend like he had planned. Instead, I had to bring him and all his camping equipment home, which barely fit in our Jeep. The car is being towed to my parents’ house in Stockton (closer to our AAA 100-mile tow coverage) and we’re going to decide what to do with it.
But it’s not going to hit the freeway again.
We bought our Jeep last fall when my Camaro started giving me problems (ever seen a V6 on fire? I had a moment, or twenty, with that car on the way back from the Bay Area after the Nike Women’s Half Marathon Expotique last year, smoke, losing power, all the things that make a person freak out, on the Altamont of all places).
We ended up getting the Camaro repaired for less than we thought it would be, so we decided to “garage it” and baby it a little more.
Unfortunately for me that means I’m turning over my Jeep keys to my husband for awhile. The Camaro, which gets amazing gas mileage for a 11-year-old sports car, can’t handle the extra miles. It would end up in the same position as the Toyota.
We’re looking for a used commuter car, but not quite in a rush to get one yet. I’ll be driving my Camaro again, which won’t be nearly as much as I was driving it before. My full-time job as a journalist meant that I was racking up mileage on my car every time I did an assignment.
Sure, we got paid for the gas, but the wear and tear on a car isn’t compensated. Now I drive to work and am there all day. I come. I go. That’s about it. I even walk to lunch because it’s pointless getting in my car to go somewhere.
My husband, while sad, did make sure to grab his Chico State license plate frame from the car. To me, that marks the point where you know your vehicle is really gone.
And I’m still regretting not bringing my running shoes to get in hill repeats. For real.
This is as far as my tutu and running gear got on Saturday. It’s where it all continues to sit today. Needless to say, if my tutu, race belt and water bottle didn’t make it out the door, neither did I.
Instead, I went back to sleep after realizing, nearly at the last minute when my friend was on the way to pick me up, that I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t go run on Saturday. I didn’t want to. The thought of doing so paralyzed me with fear.
Thanks anxiety. I appreciate it.
Or not. I actually hate your face. If you had a face, I mean. Than I’d hate it.
I won’t get started on “how it all went down” rather I’ll say this: It’s been about three months since my last panic attack. This one was minor in severity to the first one (otherwise known as the “big one” or “the incident”) last October. It wasn’t as quick as the one three months ago either.
Suffice it to say, my morning wasn’t fun. I woke up with a huge knot in my stomach that just wouldn’t go away. And it didn’t until I fell back asleep after my husband handed me some tissue and sent out the obligatory “Tara isn’t coming” text message.
Life. Sucks. Sometimes.
The good news is that people tell me it gets better. The better news is that this is the first time in three months I’ve even had something like this happen. That’s a win. Even if I didn’t feel that way yesterday, it truly is.
Saturday marked the first day anxiety has broken into my running in such a way. My last race was the San Francisco Marathon. And while I had moments of “why am I doing this?” and “I cannot do this today” I made it to the start line. To the midway point. And to the finish.
It was easy to diagnose the “trigger” for Saturday, which had nothing to do with running at all. I know it had nothing to go with running because I was able to hop on the treadmill later in the evening and run eight miles, no problem.
But I was smart to know my limit, to not push myself when uncomfortable. My husband kept trying to persuade me, to push me out the door with my friends, to tell me everything would be OK. I think deep down, though, he knew it was a lost battle from the moment I started to breathe heavy. He did what he could.
And I did what I knew had to be done: I laid myself back down. I bowed out before the run.
I knew the damaged I would do if I kept going. I knew what would happen if I got out the door and on the road, or even to the race. I knew it would be all bad. I knew once I lost my composure, I wouldn’t be able to get it back.
Part of learning to live with anxiety, and specifically without anxiety medication, is that I have to be the one to pull back for myself. I have to set my limits. I did that on Saturday, which meant there was no 5K. I want to be disappointed about missing what looked like a good time, but I’ve run too many races lately (and many since October) to know that I never felt this way before one.
Something was different. Something was wrong.
I listened to that gut instinct which I didn’t listen to last October, which led to that “more damage” down the road. Because my hope is that if it’s been three months since my last panic attack this time, it will be six months in between the next … or maybe they’ll stop all together.
I can cross my fingers and hope. But I can also recognize the signs early enough to stop it from happening all together, lean back, relax, breathe deep and remove myself from a situation, temporarily, before it gets too bad. Even if it means giving up a fun run.