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Going into this week, I had very low expectations running wise some delusions that I would keep running as if nothing happened. After all, I managed to trudge through three miles last Saturday, the day after chemo, without a notable effort.

Come Sunday, things had changed. We planned to walk the same three miles with Kai and Bob and I didn’t even make it a quarter of the way around the loop walking before asking to turn back. I was wiped out. Wow.

Monday morning I thought that I should make an attempt to go to work. After struggling to make it through the getting ready process, I dragged myself to the car and went in. My ‘work day’ lasted about an hour, at which point I concluded that it was too much effort to sit in the chair and headed home.

I was exhausted and just all around crummy feeling. I felt an awful lot like I imagine that I would if I had stayed out drinking all weekend without any sleep. My brother, who once pledged a fraternity, can probably understand what I’m talking about. I gather from his stories that freshman year at Penn State was not as kind to him as it was to me.

By the time I made it home, I was freezing to death. No exaggeration. Anyway, my not even close to warm enough bed awaited me. I crawled in, with that chilled to the bone feeling that I can usually only achieve by night skiing in the bitter cold temperatures and unrelenting winds of Upstate New York while wearing clothing that is still damp with sweat from a day of riding. This was not a fulfilling experience at all.

I determined that I was far too cold and exhausted even to lay in bed. Unfortunately, I could not come up with a less energy intense alternative. Ugh. To be honest, I might have cried about it if that would not have required me to expend additional effort.

Somehow, I finally got to sleep. Six or seven hours later, I awoke from a deep sleep feeling kind of normal. I tested the waters by doing some chores, then decided to attempt a run.

I use that term very loosely. My ‘run’ was probably 60% run, 40% walk, but somehow, afterwards, I felt more normal than I had in days. In fact, it led to two subsequent, more legitimate, running attempts on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Thursday I planned to run also, but when I discovered that we could do this instead, all plans went out the window.
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I think the thing that I am most impressed with myself about is that I got up an hour early on Friday morning to squeeze a run in. It made me remember why I like to run in the morning. Going to work on Friday is so much nicer when you know that you are off the hook and free to do as you please on Friday night. It was such a relief not to have a run looming over me all day. In fact, I just might try the same thing on Monday morning as well!

Let’s talk a little bit about chemo and running. After all, I’m totally an expert now after one dose chemo and not even having hung tight until the second dose. Whatever. Anyway, about chemo and running.

It is like running through water. The first few steps of each run I feel amazing. Weightless. Like I am gliding effortlessly along. Then WHAM! Hello wall! I need to read up to understand exactly what I am experiencing here, but basically I seem to go from running easy to the feeling of trudging through a fluid far more viscous than air within a few minutes. I wonder if it has to do with my blood counts? Bio majors, feel free to weigh in!

For those of you who are running or have run while pregnant, it kind of reminds me of the last run that I did during my 34th week; much harder than I think it should be and littered with more walking than I would typically think acceptable.

I am doing my best to maintain perspective and I’m even trying not to get embarrassed when I walk up some of the big hills. [I’m using Kai and Bob as my excuse for needing to walk up hill. P.S. – Chris, Bob needs air in his tires still.] Nevertheless, I can’t help but demand more from myself. I can feel a huge improvement in my energy levels four days out from chemo versus three days out, so maybe the runs will return to the low end of the spectrum of normal runs as I get farther out from the last treatment and my blood counts hopefully approach reasonable levels. Either way, I’ve made it out three out of five days so far, so I at the very least I am collecting a lot of data points to draw conclusions from. For now I guess I just leave my watch home, run my favorite three miles untimed, and act satisfied with the effort.

This running for the sake of running, without regard for pace is such a huge paradigm shift for me that I’m having a lot of trouble coming to terms with it. [You noticed?] I’ll get there, no worries, give me some time.

Remember when I used to write about running?

I haven’t been getting much running in lately. We have been on the go for weeks and sleep has taken priority. One of my goals this weekend was to make it out running. Sounds simple enough, but my to-do list was nearly a full page long and, in reality, running was one of the less important items on the list. To further complicate matters, Chris is in Paris, so Kai and I were doing everything together this weekend.

I’m pretty jealous of Chris’ trip. Kai and I had plane tickets to tag along with him, but I decided to cancel mine. I have been missing a lot of work lately and I think it would be pushing it to ask for vacation right now. Chris is there for work, so it would have been pushing it for him to ask not to go. C’est la vie. I have decided not to be upset about it.

Instead of traipsing around Paris this weekend, Kai and I did important things like make and freeze a several month supply of baby food. We made apples, bananas, pears, and sweet potatoes. Later this week we will tackle peas and squash. Based on my research, most of it can stay frozen for up to six months.

When I felt that we had crossed a sufficient number of items off of the list I finally ventured out running. At first, I couldn’t believe that I was out there. It was hot, 80 degrees, and mega windy, over 30 mph from the south with gusts 40+. Kai was sheltered from the wind with protection from Bob, but I was experiencing it in full force. I started out heading north with a tailwind for the first quarter of the run, then headed on an east-west out and back with a killer cross wind, ending the last quarter of my run with a serious headwind. I think the most redeeming part of this run was that it has one of my favorite views that I run past.
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A few years ago I never would have imagined loving this view as much as I do, but each time I look out at the beginnings of corn and soy beans for as far as I can see, a certain feeling washes over me. The recognition that it is spring, a sense of tranquility, a feeling of awe over the vastness of the land, and a feeling of relief that I am lucky enough to be running in one of the flattest places possible. Today, with that nasty wind and a Bob to push, my appreciation for the even terrain may have been the predominant feeling.

Not surprisingly, this was one of the slowest runs since the end of my pregnant runs, but it was good anyway. It felt great to get out there, especially as I packed Kai and Bob back into the car and felt a sense of triumph wash over me. It was slow, but not bad for a hot, windy day with a jogging stroller. Sometimes it is just about getting out there.

Last week was a pretty big running fail. Try as I might, it just wasn’t happening. Chris was in India until Thursday, which meant that I was on solo Kai duty for the first half of the week. In addition to Chris being away, I had a few other schedule disruptions, which I might get into another time, that sealed the deal for making excuses not to run.

Friday morning we packed our bags and headed Down Under. I had dreams of running on Sunday when we got here, but when the reality of jet lag set in, that plan was quickly dismissed. I don’t have high hopes for getting much running in this week either, I’m going to write it off as a rest week and anything that I can squeeze in will be a bonus.

Monday: 3 miles, 27:02 (Avg. 9:01/mile; variable speeds)
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: 3 miles, 25:48 (Avg. 8:36/mile; variable speeds)
Thursday: 3 miles, 26:34 (Avg. 8:51/mile; variable speeds)
Friday: rest
Saturday: rest
Sunday: rest

Weekly Total: 9 miles
Average Pace: 8:49/mile
February Total: 59.94
March Total: 3
YTD Total: 118.2

This wasn’t such a great week for running. So much for getting five runs in. I have no excuse, really, yesterday I wore my running clothes for a solid five hours and just didn’t do it; this is pretty rare for me, so I’m going to give myself a pass, but no excuses next time.

Instead of running yesterday I did fun things like pack a week worth of breakfast and lunch, lay out Kai’s clothes for the week, and keep Kai upright for hours on end, as she only to seems to feel comfortable when she is being held vertically. Although we tried to avoid it for the past month by trying alternatives, Kai was prescribed reflux medicine today. Hopefully that will make her a happier, more pleasant baby.

This past week was fairly windy, so we only made it out with the jogging stroller once. For a second week in a row Chris logged the fastest stroller mile in 8:28; I had trouble keeping up even though I wasn’t pushing anything. That mile was a net elevation loss with the wind at out backs, but it was impressive nevertheless. I think he was in a hurry to get to his man-date in our neighbor’s garage. 😉

Overall, I feel like I put in quality runs except for Monday’s trudge-fest, so hopefully that makes up for shorting myself one.

Monday: 3 miles; 30:00 (Avg. 10:00/mile)
Tuesday: 3 miles; 26:29 (Avg. 8:50/mile, variable speeds)
Wednesday: 3 miles; 27:18 (Avg. 9:06/mile, with Chris, Kai, and Bob)
Thursday: rest
Friday: rest
Saturday: 3.3 miles; 30:00 (Avg. 9:05/mile, pickups @ 8.0)
Sunday: rest

Weekly Total: 12.3
Average Pace: 9:15
February Total: 53.94
YTD Total: 109.2

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!

Remember these?

My goals for the week:

  1. Learn how to get out of the house in the morning in 2.5 hours or less.
  2. Write two weekday blog posts.
  3. Run five times.
  4. Cook “real” dinner twice.
  5. Unpack two boxes from India.
  6. Pack a real lunch twice.

So how did I do? 33%

  1. I didn’t really have the chance to work on the first item. For the most part Kai woke up three hours before we needed to leave. You know that saying about tasks growing to fit the time allotted…
  2. I succeeded in writing one weekday post. I think I can do better next time.
  3. I ran five times, although I really meant, and should have specified, that I was aiming for five runs during the work week.
  4. Again, this one required more clarity. I cooked one real-ish dinner this week. It was pizza. I’m counting it because I made the dough and sauce from scratch. I suppose I can still redeem myself on this one if I expand it to include the weekend.
  5. India unpacking is complete except for a box full of Chris’ shoes.
  6. I failed on the real lunch thing. I’m pretty sure it requires me to cook real dinner the preceding night. Or maybe just include a sandwich in my lunch? Anyway, definitely didn’t happen. Snacks it was. On a positive note, I have perfected the art of pre-packing a week worth of lunches on Sunday night.

Let’s see if I can improve this week!

Monday: 3.27 miles; 30:00 (Avg. 9:10/mile, variable speeds 6.0-7.1)
Tuesday: 2 miles; 17:56 (Avg. 8:58/mile, variable speeds) <— Stopped due to screaming baby. How dare I let an arm come unswaddled.

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Wednesday: 3.37 miles; 30:00 (Avg. 8:54/mile, variable speeds)
Thursday: rest
Friday: rest
Saturday: 5 miles; 46:35 (Avg. 9:19/mile, with Chris, Kai, and B.O.B*)
Sunday: 3.5 miles; 31:56 (Avg. 9:08/mile, outside – hills)

Weekly Total: 17.14
Average Pace: 9:08
February Total: 41.64
YTD Total: 96.9

*We traded B.O.B back and forth throughout the run to split B.O.B time evenly. Chris gets the award this time for fastest mile with B.O.B; 9:05.

So I was missing from blogging all week. I know. You’re heartbroken. I didn’t think so.

The week marked my return to work and Kai’s first week at day care. We were very busy learning our new routines and trying desperately to squeeze everything in. I never imagined how much work going to day care would create. We have to wash and fill bottles, then create labels each day that comply with state regulations.

Kai also insists on wearing matching clothes each day. Ok, she has no idea, but the other kids are pretty well dressed compared to her. I don’t want her to look so schlumpy that the teachers in her class room develop a bias against her and leave her crying in the corner, hungry and with a dirty diaper. I think she cute enough to feed and change, but I probably have a bias as well.

Over the course of the week, I moved as many activities as possible to our evening routine, but somehow it still take us nearly three hours to get out the door between feeding (twice since it takes so long for us to leave), running, showering, diapers (also times two), getting dressed, and dumping our pre-made breakfast, lunch, and bottles into a cooler bag. I’m going to need to improve on that, because it is insane to wake up at 4:40 in order to squeeze in a 30 minute run. We’ll see if I can do better this week. If I could get out the door fast enough to eliminate a second feeding, that would save at least 30 minutes. She must be a European baby. Kai likes to savor her milk, having a few gulps here and there while checking out the world around her. She clearly did not get that trait from me or Chris.

My goals for this week:

  1. Learn how to get out of the house in the morning in 2.5 hours or less.
  2. Write two weekday blog posts.
  3. Run five times.
  4. Cook “real” dinner twice.
  5. Unpack two boxes from India. (I am ashamed to say that they are not all unpacked yet.)
  6. Pack a real lunch twice. (My lunches have looked more like a series of snacks lately.)

Monday: 3.23 miles, 30:00 (9:17/mile; random pickups w/10:00 recovery)
Tuesday: 3.27 miles, 30:00 (9:10/mile; variable speeds 6.0-7.0)
Wednesday: 3 miles, 30:00 (10:00/mile)
Thursday: 3 miles, 30:00 (10:00/mile)
Friday: 3 miles, 30:00 (10:00/mile)
Saturday: rest
Sunday: rest

Weekly Total: 15.5
Average Pace: 9:41/mile
February Total: 24.5
YTD Total: 79.76

My mileage was a bit lower than I had hoped for, I guess that just happens sometimes. Over the weekend we went to New Jersey to see my family and with such a short visit, I felt like a jerk if I spent even 30 minutes of my time running. I decided to sit it out and socialize instead.

This week I will face the challenge of getting Kai to daycare in the mornings and completing a morning run. I think I can do it all, but I will admit that I am relieved not to have an 8am meeting today, less pressure to be punctual on the first day of my new morning routine. Most days this week I have a bit of extra flexibility and I’m pretty sure that I will need it.

In case you were wondering about my phone (Duh. Who wouldn’t be?): Last night I was able to retrieve all of the pictures from it, but the screen is very dim. It is turned off again and repacked in silica gel for a few more days, but I think it is going to be a goner. Super bummer. Chris is going to give me a pretty hard time about buying a second iPhone in less than one year. I don’t blame him, I would do the same. Ugh.

Monday: 3 miles, 30:00 (10:00/mile)
Tuesday: 3 miles, 29:04 (9:42/mile, outside w/Kai and Bob)
Wednesday: 3 miles, 29:52 (9:57/mile, outside w/Kai and Bob)
Thursday: 3 miles, 30:28 (10:10/mile, outside w/Kai and Bob)
Friday: 3 miles, 30:00 (10:00/mile, treadmill)
Saturday: rest
Sunday: rest

Weekly Total: 15
Average Pace: 9:58
January Total: 55.26
February Total: 9
YTD Total: 64.26

After totally freaking myself out while running outside on Wednesday, a few people commented that maybe I shouldn’t write it off entirely. At first, that sounded like crazy talk, but when we had a third unseasonably warm day in a row, I found it difficult to submit to the treadmill. Instead, I opted for a different stretch of bike path running through a neighborhood where I suspected there would be a lot of stay at home moms.

My guess was right. I felt much more safe running there where I continually passed women with strollers and/or dogs. It probably didn’t hurt that I remembered my bear mace and brought a cell phone. [Still not my silica gel encased iPhone. :-(] Anyway, it was much better, which is totally a relief because it is going to be warm once again today. You can guess where I will be this afternoon. Or where I will try to be anyway. I have a lot on my agenda for today and have to squeeze it all in by 5pm.

Yesterday’s run was a bit slower than the last few because, naturally, it was in the most hilly part of my whole town. Pushing the stroller up hill is tough, but I still think the downhills are worse. My fear of running down hill with the stroller causes me to put on the brakes big time, which is totally killer on my quads. I have a feeling that I will relax about this some over time.

Today I’m going to visit Kai’s daycare for the first time. Chris checked it out a few weeks ago and was extremely impressed. I hope I feel the same way as there is no turning back at this point; her first day is Monday. Chris said that even for six week old babies, they have lesson plans. I think hers will be pretty basic like having books read to her and tummy time, but I was still surprised. Is that normal for <2 month old babies to have lesson plans at daycare?

Chris is convinced that they will be more nurturing than we would be. I'm not sure, but I do know that I have only squeezed book reading into our day one time. She obviously didn't understand the book, but she did appear to be looking at the pictures.

Tonight we will do our first flight as a family of three. I am kind of terrified. Our plane is scheduled to depart exactly 30 minutes before evening meltdown time. We might make some enemies. At the very least, I will probably be on edge the whole time anticipating the arrival of her blood curdling screams. <– Totally the wrong thing to do. She will sense me being high strung and act crazy for sure.

Wish us luck!