Kidnapped

Greetings from the Homeland!

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The grandparents and great-grandparents have been begging to see Libby before I go back to work, since it will be several months before we are able to come home again.  Since Mike is back at school already, it didn’t seem like it was going to happen.  But then, with Mike’s blessing, a kidnapping occurred. Papa Steve came to pick Libby and me up yesterday, and Mama Lou will drive us back for the weekend.

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(For those concerned about the Bumbo recall, no skulls were fractured in the taking of this photograph.)

We’re looking forward to spending a few days in the “country.” I was enthused about taking the stroller out in my parents’ neighborhood, the one where I grew up, but we woke up this morning to a tremendous thunderstorm.

So we’re perfectly content just to sit inside and watch the rain.

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I’d Rather Be Fast Than Skinny

I haven’t lost a pound since Libby was two weeks old.

There are two ways to lose weight: A) decreasing calories, or B) increasing activity.

While there are many women who claim breastfeeding helps them lose their baby weight quickly, I am not one of those women.  We have, thankfully, been blessed with a successful breastfeeding relationship, and I’m not going to put that at risk by cutting calories in order to lose weight.  So, option A: no, thanks.

And then there’s Option B.  I’m a generally active individual, so this seems like a good fit.  Except for one problem: I am personally against running for the purpose of weight loss.  I went on a nice long rant about it awhile back – you can read it here.  In short, I’d rather be fast than skinny.

I don’t think it’s much of a secret that this is not a “fitness” blog.  I’m not particularly passionate about physical fitness or healthy living.  These things just happen to gel nicely with what I AM passionate about: competition.

I run for one reason: to be faster.  As a kid, I wanted nothing more than to be faster than my dad.  In adolescence and early adulthood, I worked hard to be faster than as many people as possible. While those days are over, as an adult I aim to compete against A) my husband, who perfectly fits the definition of the casual runner, and B) other women in my age group at any given event.

This leaves me in a perplexing situation.  For the first time in my life, I actually have weight to lose.  Given my firm position on the issue, how can I reconcile my desire to get back into shape with my desire to lose the additional 15-or-so pounds that prevent me from wearing most of my pre-pregnancy clothes?

I don’t really know the answer, but I think it’s something close to just don’t worry about it.   Either the pounds come off, or they don’t.  Either the weight redistributes itself so my pants fit, or I have an excuse to go shopping before I go back to work next week.

I will keep doing my best to make my runs progressively increase in both length and pace, and let the chips fall where they will.  Even if those chips are falling into my mouth.  Because, quite honestly…I’m hungry.

Posted in Baby, food | 2 Comments

2012 Farmstead Stampede Recap

Find the full 2012 Farmstead Stampede results here.

We made it!

Saturday was a gorgeous morning – the temperature was in the low 60’s for the 7AM start, as the sun was coming up over the horizon.  For the first time in Libby’s life, we were concerned about her getting too cold as opposed to too hot.  We tucked a thin blanket over her arms in the carseat and that seemed to keep her nice and cozy throughout the morning.

The first thing I noticed about the Farmstead Stampede was that they have reversed the course since the last time I ran the race (2009).  Originally, the race course turned onto a narrow trail in the first half-mile; now, the course doesn’t narrow until the halfway point. So much better this way.

I started near the back of the pack. This being my first time pushing the jogger in a crowd, I was very conscious of our large footprint.  After the race started, though, I was quite impressed with our ability to navigate.  (If you’re planning to race with a stroller, I highly recommend springing for the BOB – it’s worth it!)  I didn’t jockey for position nearly as much as I do when I’m running solo.  Instead, I was content to fall in with the pack.  I ran comfortably, chatting with other runners along the way.  Something very neat about this section of the pack: I was surrounded by parents and young children.  Seeing the parents encourage and coach their kids through the race made me smile as I thought ahead a few years to when Libby might be running alongside me instead of riding in the stroller.  I could be perfectly content hanging out in this part of the pack for years to come.

The water stop was at about the halfway point, just before turning into the woods – also just before a steep decline.  It was a challenge to steer the jogging stroller with one hand while holding a cup of water in the other!  I ended up splashing most of the water down my front, but let’s be honest – I do this most of the time anyway.

The wooded portion of the race, while lovely and shaded, is the secret hiding place for a ton of steep hills.  Brie warned me about them on Friday – I had completely forgotten about them, even though I’ve run the race before!  It didn’t take me long to realize how much more difficult hills are while pushing the jogging stroller – so I used the uphill portions as my walk breaks for the rest of the race (3 in total).

As we came out of the woods I spotted Mike – who had finished the race, got the camcorder from the car, and then came back to find us.  He jogged with us the rest of the way, running ahead at the end to catch us on video crossing the finish line.  (I haven’t investigated our camera’s features well enough to know how to upload the video – something to learn for the future I suppose.)

The clock at the finish read something like 35:10.  But with the adjustment for chip timing at the starting line, my official time was 34:48.

I’m thrilled with this time.  Whenever someone asks me for advice when jogging their first 5K, I throw out 35:00 as a goal time.  Since I’m pretty much in the same boat as a new runner at this point, I’m pleased to have met my own baseline.

Even more significant than the time, however, is the joy I felt being around other runners again.  This is the reason I run.  Even though I don’t know many runners in this town, it feels so good to be a part of the community in this way.  I can’t wait to get back out there again – I don’t have anything on my schedule until mid-September, so it will be interesting to see what another month will do.

I might even let Mike push the stroller next time.

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Pregnant vs. Post-Pregnant

While I didn’t keep a defined exercise routine while pregnant, I did do a fair amount of running.  Usually my runs were just short jaunts with the dogs often mixed with walking, but on two occasions I pinned on a bib number and toed the line of a local 5K.  Here I am at the finish of the BBF 5K at 33 weeks pregnant, finishing in a blazing 38:58 for 3.1 miles:

(Photo credit: SeeKCRun)

Some have suggested that since I ran while pregnant, running after pregnancy shouldn’t be that big of a deal.  I wouldn’t go that far – I’m definitely struggling out there right now…but in many of the same ways I struggled then.  While there are many similarities between the two, it’s also just…different.  See below:

On Fatigue.
Pregnant: There’s an instant (and valid) excuse to slow down or stop to walk to keep the heart rate down and breathing steady.  The result is a slow, agonizing pace.
Post-Pregnant: No more excuses.  Unfortunately, it’s been so long since I’ve allowed my heart rate to elevate and my breathing to quicken, it HURTS REAL BAD.  The result is a slow, agonizing pace.

On Extra Weight.
Pregnant: I feel so heavy.  Maybe this is like strength training; after having the baby, I’ll be able to run faster because I’ve been toting these extra pounds around!
Post-Pregnant: What? Now I get to push those pounds in front of me in the jogging stroller? Strength training indeed.

On Body Shape.
Pregnant: This belly is not only heavy and in the way, but pounding the pavement makes me feel like I’m about to pee my pants!
Post-Pregnant: These boobs are not only heavy and in the way, but pounding the pavement makes me feel like I’m about to leak through my sports bra!

Tomorrow Libby and I hit the pavement for the Farmstead Stampede 5K.  Because of the challenges listed above, I’m using that 38:58 as my benchmark.  If I’m better than that, awesome.  If not, no big deal.  This is an information-gathering event, to find out where I’m starting from.

My concerns aren’t about my ability to run – they are about logistics.  Will Libby cooperate and allow me to go pick up race packets this afternoon?  Will we have to wake her up in the morning to eat in order to make it to the starting line on time? What if she decides partway through the race that she doesn’t really care for this whole thing?  This will be an adventure for all of us.

Posted in Baby, training | 4 Comments

Crunch Time

Ab work is a social activity.

There isn’t much to smile about when getting up to work out at 5:30 am, but some of my fondest memories of college running outside of racing are those moments we spent chatting over planks and crunches at the crack of dawn. It turned an otherwise mundane activity into a social one.

Which brings me to today. I’ve had a multi-tasking breakthrough of sorts. When Libby has tummy time…

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I have crunch time. I’m on the floor anyway, and I can still watch and engage with Libby while doing a few sit-ups or planks. It’s not the best workout in the world, but doing these exercises while hanging out with my little girl sure makes them go quickly. And a few crunches, a few times a day, adds up.

So it looks like I have myself a new training partner. She works on strengthening her core while I work on mine. We make a good team.

Posted in Baby, training | 2 Comments