Saturday, July 26, 2014

Post-Baby Fitness Equipment: Getting Back in Shape

Tomorrow is my baby shower! I am pretty excited about it. I think a lot of people on both sides of our families doubted we'd ever have kids - so there is a fair level of anticipation with this little bundle. 

Of course, I registered for all of the necessary baby gear - the crib, the swing, the boob equipment, the car seat, etc. But I also put one thing on the registry that I feel mostly selfish about: a jogger. I don't feel selfish, because it is unnecessary or over the top - but because I see it as MY ticket back to MY former self. (I still have 7 weeks until my due date and I am already salivating at the thought of getting in a long run.) My relationship with running is weirdly personal and it is something I protect. For that reason, I wanted to be sure that my jogger came from someone that "gets it" - that understands how important running is to my existence and how this piece of equipment is not just a piece of equipment, but a guarantee of a return to my lifestyle. I am definitely romanticizing here, but the jogger seriously represents a promise to myself: I am committed to taking care of me - my sanity, my body, my goals and now, my little family. I was thrilled when my parents said they wanted to get my jogger, because they definitely "get it."

When it came time to decide which jogging stroller I wanted, I did some research and polled my net friends (you guys!) The resounding response was to get a BOB Stroller - although there was some discrepancy in which model everyone preferred. I chose the BOB Ironman (in yellow!) I like that it is built for serious distance, high visibility and style - obviously. I have to wait until our little dude is 8 months before he can join me on the road, but when he does, we are going to run far and wide in our flashy little buggy. :) I will write a review after I actually get to test it out.

So - runner friends - since you have been so helpful in determining which jogger to get, I thought I would ask which other essential items helped you return to running/your active lifestyle? I'm talking anything - sport bras, baby carriers, protein powders, etc. Anything! You guys are experts and I have so much to learn!

I'll do a "Baby Shower" post sometime later this week - it is so much fun to get to share our little adventure with you all.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Learning Empathy through Pregnancy

I think it should be a standard rite of passage that every human (boy, girl, both) should experience one full month of being pregnant. Like when you're 25, you have to undergo one full month of not-actual-baby-producing pregnancy that allows you to experience the myriad of feelings, symptoms and side effects that come standard with baby making.

I don't say that to sound like, "Oh my gosh - pregnancy is so hard and all of you non-pregnant people cannot possibly relate." It is actually quite the opposite. I feel like I have learned so much about my abilities, my limitations and other people as a result of this experience - and I think everyone could stand a refresher in empathy.

Pregnancy has been humbling for me. First of all, it is really amazing what these bodies are capable of doing. It really does feel miraculous in many ways. But the physical toll on my body has been significant, too; not debilitating by any means - but enough to force me to slow down a lot. Simple things, like going up a flight of stairs, are not mindless activities anymore; you are likely to find me resting halfway up to catch my breath. Finding the motivation to take a shower, make a lunch, clean the house all requires specific and directed determination. I set small goals throughout the day and high-five myself for dealing with basic things. All of these things - the mundane, day-to-day activities that fill a life - require planning, time and careful thought.

I have been fortunate that I have not experienced anything in my life until this point that would require such accommodation and change. My pregnancy is temporary and so are the challenges that have come with it. I know it will take some time and plenty of effort, but I fully expect to bounce back to my former shape and abilities - but as I struggled through my run today, I got to thinking about the fact that many people live with circumstances, abilities and afflictions that are not temporary. They aren't counting down the days until their asthma disappears or their weight is healthy or their heart is strong enough for rigorous activity again. It also made me think of all of the people I know that are struggling with one thing or another that they do not allow to get in the way of living a life they want or pursuing the goals they've chosen. I thought about many of my students - and the things that they don't have or the challenges they do have - but they still show up to school every day and try (most of them.) I thought about the times I have hollered at an athlete for quitting a particularly hard workout without really knowing what they're experiencing physically.

Honestly, I found myself feeling a little bit embarrassed when I considered the assumptions and thoughts I have had about other people without knowing their full experience. I would hate for someone to have seen me on my run today and for them to think, "Gosh, she sure runs slow" without knowing the full story, "HEY - I am doing my current best!" I guess this was all a reminder that the only assumption I should be making about anyone at any time is that they are also doing their current best. As a teacher and coach, this is absolutely necessary to keep in mind...and my slow run was totally worth the lesson today.

So, back to my original point: I think everyone should experience pregnancy. Learn the amazing abilities of the human body, learn that making a person is surprisingly hard (maybe it shouldn't be surprising) and learn to empathize with others through understanding your own limitations.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Pregnancy Updates!

I thought I would just stop by and give some quick updates on things over here, in pregnant lady land. I'm currently on summer break from school (thank God) and I thought I'd have all sorts of time for blogging, working out, relaxing, snoozing...not so. I think I'm busier now than ever. Good busy, but BUSY.

How far along am I? As of today, I am 31 weeks and 2 days (roughly 75% baked.)

How do I feel? *knocks on wood* Most of the time, I feel exactly like my normal, non-pregnant self. I regularly forget that I am quite obviously pregnant now - and I get surprised when people ask about it. Then I see my reflection and I get, "Who's body is THAT? Not mine!" In general, I feel pretty good. There are definitely times and entire days when I am pretty tired, but nothing that has changed my lifestyle all that much.
31 weeks after building the crib!
Least favorite part of being pregnant? My biggest complaint would still be relentless heartburn - so I've been taking down Gaviscon like its candy.
Turns out I am one of those weird people that likes the taste of antacids. Another least favorite thing: uninvited hands on the belly. I'm going to start grabbing the boobs of women that do this. You've been warned.

Favorite part of being pregnant? There is a lot that I do like. I like the anticipation - its like waiting for Christmas when you're a kid, but waiting for a much longer time. I love to feel the little pokes and jabs from my little dude. I love, love, love thinking about my Mister as a daddy...and I love all the conversations we have about the baby. Our relationship is different and better, which is pretty cool because it was great before. 

What are you looking forward to? My shower is in two weeks! I don't really do "themes" - at least I am not into baby-ish themes. My "shower" is basically a summer picnic, complete with woven baskets and checkered table cloths. It will be really nice to see the family. I'm also having a lot of fun planning out the nursery. Again, we're not into themes. It will be a modern, minimalist room with some mid-century touches; no jungle animals or baseball themes for this kid.
Gertie, sleeping on the job during Shower preparation! Bum.
Biggest concerns about this whole thing? I guess there is the whole "I've gotta keep a human alive ALL THE TIME" thing - which is mildly terrifying, but I hope to be mostly instinctual. I am, however, starting to have minor panic attacks thinking about how short my "maternity leave" will be - I use that term loosely. I feel like this is a real social injustice. How can we raise healthy, well-rounded, loving children when we get to maybe spend a few weeks home with them when they are BRAND NEW PEOPLE and we are BRAND NEW PARENTS? As an educator, I see all sorts of problems with this (bonding, development, consistency, stress.) I think it speaks volumes about what we value as a society. Anyway - I will be plotting and scheming to find a way to stay home until the day I am required to go back to work. There is always a chance. #teampositive (Don't make this political. I am grateful to be employed and to have insurance, etc. But in an ideal world, I would not be leaving my brand new baby with someone else when I am just getting to know them. You cannot argue with that.) 

What are you going to call this kid? We have to keep something a secret! We talked about this quite a bit and finding a name was hard...we've changed our minds a few times for various reasons. But I'm 95% sure we have settled on a pretty cool moniker for the this little boy. Since we gave away the gender, we are keeping the name a secret. And honestly, I don't want to hear the comments about how someone doesn't like the name. Too bad, so sad. I will say that it will not be your average name; in fact, it hasn't made the top 1,000 names in the US ever. :) Don't worry. You'll like it. 

How is working out? Going into this, I knew that I would have to learn to be fair to myself. I have pretty high expectations of myself with most things and I can be pretty mean to me when I am disappointed with my performance in anything. ANYTHING. I am one of those  people that will rewrite post-it notes 1000 times if my handwriting doesn't look right. OCD, maybe. So, working out has been an adjustment but I am actually proud of how I've dealt with it. I am still running most days, but it is slow and inconsistent and short - usually about 4 miles at a time. I have decided that any time I go running and I feel the SLIGHTEST amount of discomfort - I can walk. I'm not into taking risks with this kid, so I end up doing a lot of workouts where I run/walk every other block and I am ok with that. I've been able to deal with the change by staying really active in other ways: making projects around the house, cutting the grass, painting things, planting things, walking the dog, riding my bike, preparing the nursery, etc. It turns out that we have endless projects around here, and my time is better spent on them anyway.  
I feel a lot like preggers Charlotte running - cautious!!

Any cravings or weird diet changes? Not really. I go through phases with foods - where I like to have them, but it isn't really a weird craving. I had a phase with Cheerios, baked potatoes, even Egg White Delights from McD's (no Canadian bacon, obviously.) Lately, I want a lot of salads...big crunchy salads with all kinds of veggies for texture. I do prefer cold, uncooked things. I could eat 10 nectarines or a bag of cherries a day if I could get away with it. I do like ice cream once or twice a week - but who doesn't? The fact of the matter is that my stomach can't hold much anymore because this little kicking ninja in my belly takes up a lot of room, so I don't eat meals very often...lots of little things all day. Total, I have gained 12 pounds - which my doctor said is fine. Technically, I'm behind the weight gain curve, but she said it is because I'm active and I was diet-conscious before I got pregnant anyway. As long as the baby keeps putting on weight, its all good. Hopefully, I can get back to fighting weight quicker after the baby is here!

Oiselle - Flock vs Volee: This won't be common knowledge for all of you, but I wanted to address it anyway. My racing team, Oiselle, has broken up into three different racing groups: Haute Volee (elite athletes,) Volee (my current team) and now, the Flock (team members without the same requirements as Haute Volee and Volee.) Volee team members were asked to decide if we wanted to continue on the team for the upcoming year while adhering to certain social media and racing requirements or drop down to the less rigorous Flock - which still gives many perks but you can sort of be your own racer. I really like the idea of being on a sponsored race team as a competitive RACER, but the fact is, I don't know what the next 12 months (or 18 years) looks like for me. I wasn't sure that I'd be able to meet minimum racing requirements (8 races in the year) or if I could stay competitive during that time. I don't like to race for the sake of running; I like to compete. That said - I have decided to join the Flock and to take a step back from Volee. I actually felt a lot of relief once I formally made that decision, because I can still train and run for Oiselle - but at my own pace and around the needs of my new, little family. :)

So - that's a lot to take in. :)