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I froze my tail off during my run on Sunday.
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It was completely unexpected.

The temperature wasn’t even that cold; a balmy 38 degrees with a 5-10 mph breeze.

It is probably kind of funny to some people. Horrifying to others.

A somewhat common thing that gets far too little press.

When I first started out on my run, I was pretty stoked to be out there. I had brand new capris on, (My pre-pregnancy spandex capris are too big?!??) it was beautiful and sunny outside, and, although I was running the hilliest route in town, I planned to run easy. Admittedly, I was a bit nervous about the uphills. Unfortunately, it was the downhills that became my undoing.

Let’s back up a few weeks. When I first started running again back in January, I had some peeing problems. As in, I had to be sure that my bladder was completely empty before running or it would do me the favor of emptying itself along the way. No big deal Kind of a big deal, but fairly common at two weeks postpartum.

Slowly, the problem corrected itself until it was no longer a problem at all. For weeks, I have been having pee-free runs. It is amazing how much one can appreciate something that was once taken for granted. Until Sunday.

The combination of chugging a Powerade Zero before the run and opting to run downhill did not do me any favors.

After ascending for the first half mile, I was excited for the relief of the first small downhill. As I pounded my way down the hill, I felt a warm trickle. I immediately knew what was going on, but assumed that would be the end of it.

I began climbing the next hill and mostly forgot about this little problem. In fact, it did not seem like much of a problem at all until about halfway around my loop where I hit a fairly steady decline. My legs alternately got warm, then really cold as I raced down the hill.

Geez. It was happening. There seemed to be no stopping it unless I walked.

Surely nobody else on the trail could tell.

Or could they? I could look down and see liquid shedding from my pants with each step.

Finally as I began down the last half mile of descent, I felt my shoes getting warm. You’ve got to be kidding me.
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Sure enough, even my shoes are soaked. Notice how soaked my legs are in the first photo.

Gross.

When I made it back to my brand new to me car, I was faced with a big decision: Get into it with ridiculously wet pants or risk getting in trouble for driving home without them. I made a quick judgement call.

I stood in the parking lot stripping off my socks and shoes.

Did I mention that it was 38 degrees, feels like 28 degrees?

I took off both of my shirts and placed the thicker one on the seat of the car. As I carefully climbed in, I took care not to put my wet rear end on the seat until the dripping wet pants had been removed. Finally, I took the thinner shirt and placed it over my lap.

As I drove off, I prayed that I would not get pulled over for any reason as I was fairly certain that I could get in trouble for driving home pantless in a sport bra. When I made it home and burst through the door, I’m sure that I must have been quite a sight!

For the record, I broke my rule about shoe washing and dumped those things into the washing machine straight away. They seem fine, no worse for the wear, um, or washing in this case.

Also worth noting, this problem has not reared it’s ugly head again since then. Although, for some reason, I doubt that I am totally in the clear. After all, that would be far too good to be true.

A more serious note: If you are still reading at this point and you are thinking “Gosh, I’m sure glad that I’m not alone.”, I want to drive awareness that there is physical therapy available (beyond the standard advice to do Kegel exercises) to dramatically improve or eliminate this problem. I definitely would not have known about that option if I had not been bold enough to ask my doctor what would happen if my peeing problem persisted. If this happens to me again, you can bet on a follow-up post about anti-leak PT because living in fear of wet running shoes is no way to live!

I think that I am getting lighter. I still have no idea how much I weighed during my last week of pregnancy or how much I weigh now, but I am wearing jeans today that did not fit for a few months before I got pregnant. I’ll count that one as a win!

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I hate to admit this, although I already suspected it and have mentioned it before, I’m pretty sure that I’m done running until further notice. Thursday night I made an attempt at running, lasted about 15 minutes, and admitted that it just wasn’t working out for me. My hips feel crazy and it just doesn’t feel ‘right’.

Feeling dejected, I ended up here,

on a blurry elliptical machine. No, the machine wasn’t blurry, I was just bouncing.

I almost didn’t write about this because of a few naysayers that might catch wind of the news.

: : Casts side-eyed glances at my mother, mother-in-law, and Indian doctor, all of whom will be relieved to hear that my running career will likely be put on hold until sometime in February or March. : :

They all have my best interest at heart, but I still hate to admit to them that I am wrong. I was convinced that I would be able to 1) run up until January 16 and 2) come home from India and be able to run like I had never missed a day.

Non-pregnant, I’m fairly sure that I would have been able to come home and just start running again. I’m pretty stubborn and, while it probably would have hurt, I probably would have done it anyway. In the past, after running hiatuses of up to four years, I have been able to force myself to run for an hour on my first run back, but being pregnant seems to be a game changer. I know, right, who would have guessed?

Thursday’s run was on a treadmill in a steamy gym, important factors which may have contributed to my running fail. We know that I do not do well with running in warmer temperatures. Furthermore, I think that we have all fallen victim to wanting to push too hard when being measured, in this case by the speed on the treadmill.

That said, I figure that I have one last course of action for a redemption. Before Chris went home last, I ordered a maternity running belt. Due to some shipping snafus, it did not arrive in time for him to bring it back to India, so I have not tried it out yet. After I get home, I will try running outside, without Garmin, in reasonable temperatures, wearing the maternity running belt. Disappointingly, I have a sneaking suspicion that those changes will not help much.

I’m sure I’ll be back with a report on my outdoor running attempt soon!

Only one day left in India! Excited to go home, but disappointed that Chris will be a few weeks behind me.

Does anyone own an elliptical that they like? : : Chris close your ears (eyes?) : : I may be in the market for one.

‘Lost in translation’ has been a common theme throughout our stay in India. For the most part, it has been pretty harmless, and, when exercising patience with it, sometimes amusing. I am typically pretty patient, but anyone who knows Chris might say that he has room for development in this area.

I am convinced that our relocation to India is part of a grand plan or the result of some divine intervention to prepare us for the patience that we will need to have in January when we have a baby. After all, we will both need to be prepared to manage and communicate with a creature who will not be able to speak or understand words at first and with whom we will not be able to reason for even longer. Even Duke was fairly trainable from Day 1. This is surely uncharted territory for us.

Flexibility

A few weekends ago we were trying very hard to have a fun Saturday in Chennai. I picked the first activity, a yoga class at a posh yoga studio nearby. We arrived a few minutes early to find out that the class was cancelled. No problem, there was a yoga workshop going on that we could join instead. The workshop was scheduled to be two hours rather than the one hour class that we had planned, but no problem, after all, it was Saturday.

Upon entering the workshop, the instructor, who ironically was from Chicago, proclaimed that since it is nearly impossible to squeeze a decent yoga practice into just two hours, he would extend the workshop to three hours for us. Great. Well, assuming that you had nothing else on your agenda for the day that is.

Three and a half hours later, we emerged from the yoga studio, ready to tackle Chris’ activity choice for the day.

Patience

Chris carefully explained to our driver that he wanted to go to the Snake Park. I had no desire to go see snakes, but I did my best to keep in mind that Chris probably didn’t want to spend his entire morning in the yoga studio.

The Snake Park is quite close to our house. If it weren’t for the crazy road and traffic conditions, I could most certainly run there. Our driver pulled out of the yoga studio parking lot, began heading south towards our house, and then continued farther than we expected.

“Are we going to the Snake Park?” Insert mental image of Chris making snake-like hand gestures.

“Yes.” The driver replied.

Ok then.

Adaptability

Fifteen minutes later and thirty minutes into our drive, we were obviously aware that we were not going to see snakes. Or at least not the ones that Chris had planned on.

“Should we say something?” I asked Chris.

“I don’t think we can now, it has been too long. Let’s just wait and see where we are going.”

The drive continued. After another thirty minutes in the car, our driver finally pulled off of the road into a dirt parking lot with a big crocodile sign. We had arrived. ‘Crocodile Park’ the sign proclaimed.

Close enough. Who knew that there were so many varieties of these giant scaly lizards?

Personal Growth

As we rode the hour back to Chennai, I reflected on our day. It turned out being nothing like what we planned, but that was ok. We were able to roll with the changes as they came and neither of us had any major meltdowns. I’m sure that both of us still have a long way to go with this patience thing, but I am really happy that we are making progress. Hopefully the patience that we develop in India will result in fewer crisis in January when we will be forced to relinquish any modicum of control to the tiny person who will join our household.

Chris headed down south for a surf this morning and, not wanting to be stuck at home alone, I decided to buy a day pass to the gym at a resort nearby his surf spot. I hadn’t had an opportunity to run in three weeks and riding the bike in my living room was getting kind of old.

I was so excited about going for a run this morning that I had trouble sleeping. I woke up before my alarm and, since it is an hour drive to the beach, I even showered and ate breakfast beforehand. We loaded up the car with a surfboard, changes of clothes, and cheery attitudes.

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About halfway to Mahabalipuram Chris asked me what my game plan was. I told him about my grand plans for doing a full-body weight lifting routine and probably running at least 10 miles. After all, I’m not sure when I’ll get to go back to a gym again and I am paying to use this one. I better get my money’s worth!

He looked a bit surprised. “What if it’s like the Sheraton’s gym?” If you recall, the Sheraton gym was pretty bare bones and the ‘trainer’ at the Sheraton was a bit overbearing, once he even adjusted the speed on my treadmill for me.

I quickly dismissed that thought. After all, this is a resort, not a business hotel. It would probably have a killer gym, maybe even with a shower for me to use afterwards. Plus, at a resort, the gym staff would be used to women exercising and wouldn’t bat an eye at me. I couldn’t wait to get started!

I arranged for my day pass, then made my way to the fitness center. As I rounded the top of the staircase, I could see through the double glass doors that it was a fairly well equipped gym with several treadmills, an elliptical (with an impossibly long line), a variety of machines, and even some free weights.

As I passed through the doors, I was almost immediately greeted by a female staff member. “Please come with me to change into your exercise clothes.”

Looking down at my running skirt, “These are my workout clothes.” Admittedly, running skirts are not all that popular here.

I asked if there was a restroom nearby. Many of the runners reading this understand that for maximum comfort it is important to use the bathroom to the fullest extent possible before heading out for a run. She showed me to the bathroom, then proceeded to stand outside the stall door waiting for me. Being a somewhat timid bathroom user, that totally ruined my mojo. Off I went to wash my hands and give running a try anyway.

As I approached the treadmill the gym lady was replaced by a male trainer who instructed me on proper use of a treadmill. I listened politely, hoping that he would let me be after that. No dice. During my warm up, he continued to stand directly behind my treadmill. When I paused the machine for a stretch ten minutes in, he was immediately by my side asking if everything was ok.

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If I hadn’t experienced such attentive service at the Sheraton, I probably would have assumed that he could tell that I was pregnant and that he was concerned about me. Instead, I am beginning to think that this is just typical gym staff behavior here.

My run didn’t go exactly as planned. After twenty minutes, I was hot, more tired than I thought I should be, frustrated by being watched, and disappointed that I wasn’t cranking out sub-nine minute miles.

Let’s think that one through. Reality check!

Self: (1) You were recovering from an injury and not running for two months before you found out that you were pregnant. (2) When you finally started running again, it was on a limited basis and at a very moderate pace. (3) Due to your running constraints in Chennai, you haven’t exactly been running regularly. (4) You are 23 weeks pregnant. It is somewhat standard to get slower and feel like running takes more effort.

Reflecting on this later, it all makes sense. At the time, it was a very traumatizing realization. I considered doing some, probably hormonally induced, crying about it, but decided against that. Instead, I found new determination to salvage my workout.

I headed to the weights side of the gym, male trainer shadow in tow, and proceeded to do a respectable full-body lifting routine. I may or may not have been a bit assertive with him to get him to leave me alone. I am just not used to someone selecting the weight plates to put on my bench press bar. Believe it or not, I’ve used one of these before and I can pick appropriate weights myself.

When I finished lifting, I knew that I had some time to kill before Chris would be done surfing and I still had a burning desire to reclaim my ability to run, so I headed back to the bathroom, thinking that giving that another try could only improve my running odds.

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Who do you think appeared at the bathroom stall? Trainer girl, of course!

Out of nowhere, she was right there in case I needed help or something. Not surprisingly, it was not all that helpful for me. As soon as I could see her outside the stall, I retreated to the treadmill deciding to give it another go anyway.

My second run was still pretty crummy by six months ago’s standards, but was a marked improvement from my first attempt. I ran, joyfully, but slowly, for 25 minutes before my body had enough running and my mind had tired of contending with the attentiveness of male gym trainer.

All in all, I don’t feel like I got a very good workout in. My bike rides have felt far more effective and I am still able to crank out the same distance and intensity of workout on the bike as always. I have complained to Chris and anyone else who would listen about the monotony of my bike workouts lately, but that was driven by naïvety. In reality, the bike isn’t so bad after all.

The week after next I am headed to China again where I will probably get have to dabble in running again. I am optimistic that this was just an off day and my next runs will go more smoothly. I’ll keep you posted!

This morning I paid yet another visit to the Indian hospital for a pregnancy-standard glucose tolerance test. Several times, I have alluded to the fact that this hospital and its processes are difficult to navigate, so I thought I would do a little walk through of the process.

**Warning** There is one picture that might seem gross to some readers.

Step 1: Wait in line at Outpatient Billing to pay for your tests. That’s right, you pay in full, up front. If you stand in line long enough, you will see people, with presumably complicated or highly specialized test orders, roll up with huge wads of cash. My test was relatively inexpensive at Rs 740, about $16.

It is important to note that while this sounds inexpensive to us, most of the patients are getting paid Indian wages, not American wages, and this is fairly pricey. Furthermore, the hospital staff and even doctors are also getting paid Indian wages which keeps the hospital overhead far lower than at a US hospital. As a point of reference, my doctor here bills about $12 for a patient visit.

Step 2: Wait in line at Lab Reception. Nobody tells you to do this part. You just need to know. They give you one of those little collection bottles that many of us are familiar with and a number, then tell you to go give blood and urine samples.

Fortunately, the Lab Reception line is pretty tame this early in the morning. Later in the day the line winds all over the room, intertwined with the “Old to New Records” line and the “Reception” line.

Naturally, helpful details such as where the bathroom is, or where to leave the aforementioned urine sample are all overlooked. Perhaps more importantly, there is no warning that you best have brought your own toilet paper.

Thankfully, I have started keeping a stash in my purse. I find myself hoarding napkins at restaurants and stuffing a few extra squares of toilet paper in my purse at every chance I get. I must break this habit when I get home.

 

Step 3: Give your samples. First wait in line for the bathroom, then wait for your number to be called at the Blood Collection room. I had my act together this morning and scored #10 at 6:15 AM! Seriously, that is a huge deal!

Step 4: Choke down a cup of glucose. Those of you who have been subjected to this tortuous test before feel my pain. It is like drinking a giant cup of watered down honey. My stomach does flip flops just thinking about it.

Think the maple syrup chugging scene in Super Troopers, but worse because you’re in a hospital blood collection lab, not a diner. Blet.

Have I mentioned that I tried this test a few weeks ago? I puked. FAIL! That may be why I know the process so well now.

Step 5: Go back to Lab Reception to pick up the cup for my next sample.

One of my interest areas in grad school was operations management. Ironically, we did a case study on this hospital in International Ops class. I have another operational improvement suggestion for them: Give each patient all of their collection devices at once to eliminate multiple processing of the same patient and minimize the line at the Lab Reception counter.

I was able to talk the guy at Lab Reception into giving me the cups for samples two and three at the same time, but he sure wasn’t keen on that idea.

Step 6: Wait one hour.

Step 7: Produce urine sample #2. Finally discover that the first bathroom stall is a western toilet, while the rest are of the squatting variety. ::Big sigh of relief.::

Depost sample at designated drop-off location. Ewww.

**Gross comment alert** Is it just me or are some of these samples really crazy colors?

  

 

Step 8: Elbow* your way through the line at Blood Collection. Remember, samples #2&3 are time sensitive and Blood Collection has moved way past Token #10 by now.

*It is important to note that lines work differently in India. You do not necessarily get your turn by waiting in line nicely. More commonly, the most assertive, ahem aggressive, person in line goes next. Always stand your ground and do not be shy about crowding because if you leave personal space in front of you, someone will fill it and suddenly be ahead of you in line. As a borderline claustrophobe who really appreciates my personal space, this concept is extremely difficult for me.

 

Step 9: Repeat Steps 6-8. (And Step 5 as well if, you didn’t think to/weren’t able to talk the Lab Reception guy into multiple collection cups.)

Step 10: Sweet relief! Call your driver for a ride home!

Kind of. We’re not quite finished yet. At this hospital you are responsible for picking up your own test results and delivering them to the doctor yourself.

Step 11: Wait 24 hours, then return to Counter 6A to collect test results. See comment above about aggressive line-waiting. It is definitely called for in this line.

Step 12: Make appointment with doctor to discuss results.

So thankful to be home now. Can’t wait to go back tomorrow for an adventure at Counter 6A!

All in all, it honestly isn’t such a bad experience now that I understand the process, but my first attempt at the glucose tolerance test made me never want to go back again. In retrospect, the queasy feeling that the glucose drink gave me the first time around probably did not help my attitude any. It may have helped that I discovered bathroom stall #1 this time around as well.