Saturday, April 27, 2013

Holding back

I've been trying to keep this little baby from growing and getting older. I've tried SO HARD, but time insists on moving and I have so little control over it. He is now 9 months old, longer out than he was in... Crawling everywhere, babbling, eating his cheerios and anything else within reach. I am absolutely certain that he is our last, we are done, we are complete, my dinner table is full. I had no problem giving away all my maternity clothes. I gave away the co-sleeper that held all four of my newborns. But I keep holding on to stuff... not because I want another baby but because I don't want him to stop being one. The swing he never sleeps in still takes up space in my kitchen. He's STILL in the car seat carrier even though it kills me picking it up (he is smaller than most 9 month olds though). I just want to freeze time... hold him where he is... he is so happy, so content, so full of joy. It is impossible to look at him and not smile. Impossible. I just don't want this stage to end.

His 9 month check up went well. He's back on the growth charts, albeit barely, and is a whopping 16 pounds, 5 ounces. 27 inches long. He's gained and is clearly healthy and his pediatrician is happy. He gets three meals a day now, including his yogurt lunch, and although we still nurse four times a day I can feel it starting to peter out. It's supposed to... and yet I want to hold on. I have always cut down on nursing at a year old and just done the wake-up and bedtime feedings with cows milk in between. I have all of these running plans... and yet... I just want to hold on. He's my last.

A few weeks ago I said that after having the kids home for spring break I was ready for them to be home for summer and I meant it. Naturally people laughed and didn't quite understand why. I'm not saying that everything is blissfully happy all the time--it's not--but I really do just want them home with me. If for no other reason than that I am painfully aware of the passage of time.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Running friends

I think I mentioned a couple of weeks/posts ago that I've been running with some local friends.

It is awesome.

Ever since I started running I wanted to have someone in my neighborhood to run with. I'd run to the window whenever I saw someone pass the house. I stalked someone who turned out to be a teenager. I scanned the local race results for people who lived in my neighborhood. No, I'm not kidding. My happy runner friend started a facebook group for us but there were mostly people from her neck of the woods. And then one day there was a whole boatload of people from mine. But I was pregnant and barely running so the timing just wasn't right. I've been back to running for serious for a few months now and in a rare case of "things working out" I signed the Princess up for Girl Scouts, the Girl Scout leader is a runner, the Girl Scout leader was added to the facebook group I'm in, we both signed up for the local half marathon next fall and she added me to her neighborhood runs. I have to drive there but it takes me 5 minutes, 7-8 if there's a car in front of me. I've run with her neighborhood posse quite a few times now and I repeat:

It is awesome.

Last Sunday I planned on running 5.5 miles (because that's what my refrigerator said) but the group was running 8 and I didn't feel like turning around and running on my own. So I said "Why not?" and ran 7.8 with them. The longest distance I've run since having Lightrunner. And the longest distance I've run without stopping for a walk break EVER. EVER. I have never run over 5.5 miles without walking. And I ran 7.8! AND part of the last mile included a hill, not a major hill, but a decent hill, and I SPED UP and ran up the hill on my tired legs. There is no way I could have done that without my friend (the Girl Scout leader) by my side. None. Especially not at the end of the longest run I've done in over a year. I'm not sure if she truly knows how much I needed her next to me and how very grateful I am that she was there.

It was amazing.

Equally as amazing, I got up at 4:40 this morning and joined them for a 5:15 run. The moon was still out. The sun was not. It was cold and dark and I was tired but I knew these people were there waiting and I made myself get out of bed--no snooze button today--and I did it. I hadn't had my tea or pumped or fed Lightrunner, but I got out there and just being there was SO GOOD. There were seven of us pounding the pavement in the wee hours of the morning. I keep picturing what we must have looked like to people who happened to be up early and glancing out their windows... a pack of talking laughing women running in the moonlight, drawing strength from each other, pushing each other to just keep going.

I have no doubt in my mind that I will run the half marathon, that I can do it, and that I'll cross the finish line with these special ladies. And hopefully many more.

Friday, April 19, 2013

New race, new plan

7 weeks of training fun! 
I'm still sad and angry over the Boston Marathon bombings. I'm sure every other runner out there feels the same way. But I'm trying to focus on the future and on the things that I can control--which is very little.

Now that the Dodge the Deer race is over I'm setting my sights on my next 5K: the Freihofer's in June, which if you recall was my very first race 3 years ago. I am SO lucky to have a friend who loves to spread the joy of running so much that she makes training plans for her friends. Felice made me a new plan to get me where I want to be for the FRW and I took it and incorporated it into an overall exercise schedule which is now proudly hanging on my fridge. Unless I have a plan on the fridge it seems less official. I like to check off the runs and exercise that I do. This week got a little screwy with an unexpected stomach bug coinciding with my first scheduled run. Life happens. I plan on having the rest of my runs checked off and not crossed off, but when you're a Mama of four, sometimes unplanned things happen.

While so much seems out of my control and there's so little I can truly do to end the appalling violence our world seems hell bent on creating, I'll check my runs off, tickle my kids, see my friends, and try to hold on to the humanity we have left.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Be nice

First, I just want to say thank you to everyone who commented here on the blog and on facebook and in real life about Chewie's speech situation. I want to reiterate that this NOT a mean girl problem at preschool. Every time I volunteer I am surprised by the mellowness of the class and the few problems. There have been some aggressive kids in the past few years but there are NONE this year. This is simply a problem with Chewie's speech, other kids not being able to understand her and her confidence because of it.

As a runner, parent, and human I am so deeply saddened and angered by what happened at the Boston Marathon yesterday. Much like when the Newtown tragedy happened I am left feeling powerless and unable to do anything. Sure, I can donate money and I can run in honor of people and I'm wearing my race shirt today. But what can I really DO?

Be nice.

That's it. It sounds so simple. I can be nice to people. And more importantly I can teach my children to be nice. Not because they want to get something or it's in their best interests, but to just be nice for the sake of being nice. Regardless of race, nationality, religion, regardless of any of our differences we are ALL sons and daughters of this Earth. Every single one of us is a son or a daughter. We are all people. I can teach my children to be a friend to everyone, to fight meanness and bullying with kindness and caring. Maybe if we all teach our kids to be nice and to respect and celebrate life, we can stop having to come together in the face of tragedy.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Reigniting Chewie's spark

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago we had Chewie evaluated (again) for speech problems. The speech pathologist told us she wouldn't qualify based on scores but she would write the report as negative as she could because she felt she would benefit from the help. The second evaluation was done by the psychologist who told me that she would absolutely qualify because she couldn't understand what she was saying. She scored well on the intelligence and self help and all the psycho tests and it was just in expressive language that she needed help.

We had our hearing last Wednesday and I was a bit surprised that I had to truly argue that she needed the services. Everyone in the room agreed she would benefit. But they weren't sure if the county would foot the bill because on paper her scores weren't bad enough. Because that it what our educational system has come to in NYS. Children are not whole pictures. They are numbers. Just numbers. She did qualify for once a week, even though everyone said that twice a week would be the best for her. One of the areas that she scored high in was in social skills and playing with friends. Luckily I had volunteered at preschool after I answered those questions at the evaluation so I was able to amend them at the hearing. I was basing my answers on what I saw with her friends at home and places where I am with her to translate. Turns out when I am not with her she is a different kid.

When she first started preschool she was so ready to go, happy to go, there was no clinginess, no transition problems. After some time I would ask her who she played with and she would say nobody because no one would play with her and I just figured she was not serious. I always saw her running around with kids on the playground at pick up time so I assumed she played with them inside too. There were a few times when she said she didn't want to go to preschool but I discounted that too. Lately I've been noticing a bit more clinginess at drop off. A bit more reluctance to go.

Let me interrupt myself to say that she LOVES her teachers (as do I) and is happy there. There are no mean kids, no bullies like in previous years.

When I volunteered I saw that she didn't really play with other kids inside. Her teachers confirmed it and I just figured that she was used to entertaining herself because I'm always taking care of LightRunner.

I was wrong.

The psychologist observed her at preschool to try to build a better case for twice a week therapy. She told her teachers that she was completely different than how she had been in her office during the evaluation. Her teachers said that she will often try to get the girls to play with her when they are playing princesses or Mommy/baby or pretend play but they don't understand her so they don't play with her and she gives up and goes to play alone or with blocks near the boys since they don't talk either. She comes into preschool all fired up and by the end she is subdued (until she gets to the playground where it is a more equal arena). She follows the teachers around because they can at least understand half of what she says. It is a significant barrier to her relationship with the other kids.

This just slays me.

She is so spunky and full of life and not even close to being shy and to think of her getting rejected--even if it's not in a mean way, it is still rejection--and her spark getting dimmer and dimmer... well it's not easy to think of that. I am glad that she is starting the once a week therapy but I will be pushing for twice a week. We'll do what we have to do. I'm glad that she has older siblings to play with and that it hasn't broken her spirit yet. I'm also going to try to line up as many playdates for her as I can so that she has positive interactions with non-siblings as well.

My mommy guilt is in overdrive right now. It was rainy and hailing and gloomy today but we still went out. She got her hair cut, we went to a local children's museum and then to Cracker Barrel for lunch. We made corn muffins for snack. We're going to have a movie night tonight. I hope she doesn't ask for a pony because I really don't have the time to take care of one of those. (See, that right there is what we call a defense mechanism. Make a joke. Find something to laugh about. Because otherwise it gets too painful to bear.)

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Giving it my all

I'm sure you're all dying to know how it went.

If you don't feel like clicking back, here's what I was hoping for:

C. Beat 29:25 my last time for this race.
B. 28 minute range
A. Beat my overall PR of 27:35

We got there in time for the kids race and all 3 mobile jedi children ran. The eldest complained that I signed him up for the 200 meter dash instead of the 1 mile but I think we all know what would have happened if I had signed him up for the mile! They all had fun and that's what counts. I think I will sign SkyWalker up for the mile next year... and listen to him complain about it being too much.

I then stood in the cold wind for another 45 minutes waiting for the race to start. Last year, when I was pregnant and didn't run, it was 70 and beautiful. This year was much like my first year, cold and windy. The sun was strong and that was nice but the air was just cold. I don't like to be late, I don't like to rush, and I get stressed out if it feels like I'm going to be late. But 45 minutes in the chilly air was a bit much.

There's always a half-naked dude. What the hell?
I found some friends and stood way too close to the front. Will I ever learn? I even said this is too close but I didn't move. And when I started out too fast I said, this is too fast. When I passed the first mile marker it said 8:00 and I thought crap. (Although my garmin says 8:50. Who knows. It's a trail run and the garmin is probably less accurate in the woods.) I knew I couldn't maintain an 8 mile pace for 3 miles. Not yet. I slowed down a bit but not too much. Then I sped up a bit but not too much.

Trying to smile. 
The sand wasn't as bad as I had thought last time and I didn't have any problems with the roots and branches and rocks. I did step on one rock that could have led to something bad but luckily it didn't. I tried to just focus on running my own race, not tripping, and just being happy that I was doing this. I also tried, as much as I could, to look around me at the river and the scenery and enjoy the moment. That was harder to do.

But trail runs are hard. They feel entirely different from running on pavement. It's not a bad thing, just different. I had my Merrell Pace Gloves on because they are trail shoes and I didn't want to get my Dash Gloves too dirty. Yes, I said I didn't want to get my shoes too dirty. I've done my last two treadmill runs with the Pace Gloves so I remembered what they feel like (there's a half size different between my Pace & Dash Gloves) but it was still a bit different.

Just slapped the Princess's hand.
I hit the 3 mile mark at 27 something and thought I could get there by 28. Then when I came out of the woods I saw my Jedi and their smiling little faces and the Princess reaching out for a high-five and I slowed down a little and veered so I could slap the Princess's outstretched hand and then ran as fast as I could towards the finish. I managed 28:26. Could I have beaten 28 if I hadn't gone for her hand? Maybe. Do I care? Not much.

I would have been thrilled with an overall PR, with anything faster than 28, but I'm pretty happy with how I did. It wasn't an easy race, I had a hard time breathing in the cold air, and as I was running I felt like I was giving it my all. I am still sneezing and coughing and having my post-race running induced allergy attack and I STILL (hours later) feel like I can't breathe too deeply. So I think I really did give it my all. Particularly when I remember I just had my 4th baby 8 months ago!

And that's what matters.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Fine lines & race goals

Tomorrow morning I will get up and run my first race since August of 2011. Well, technically I ran a race in December while I was pregnant but I didn't race it so I'm not really counting it.

I'm trying to find the line between being confident and believing in myself ... and setting myself up for failure. I'm past the point of wondering if I'm going to finish. I'm past the point of being happy just crossing the finish line. BUT, I just had a baby 8 months ago, I'm still breastfeeding, and this is a TRAIL run which means not a lot of room to get around people and lots of sticks to trip over. And I just read my report from the last time I ran this and was reminded by the sand we had to run in. I forgot about that. So. What to do? What to hope? What to shoot for? What to be satisfied with?

I've been training with a plan The Happy Runner made me eons ago to get to 28 minutes. But instead of doing the traditional intervals that were in the plan (from 2 years ago), I've been doing her Fast 40 workout instead. The plan had called for fast quarters and then the following week fast halves and then the last week doing mile repeats. I wasn't having any of that but I didn't want to stick with just the same Fast 40. I started out doing the first and last 4 repeats of 30 seconds at 7.5 and the minute intervals at 8. So first I bumped up the 30 second intervals to 7.7, then the next week I added a couple more minute intervals. I think the last week I did a 6/6/6. I can't really remember. I'm not sure why I'm including this except that I might want to remember that's what I did. Sometimes this blog is my only way of remembering things.

Anyway. I've been aiming for 28 minutes for this race with the idea that I'll shoot for 26 at the Freihofer's in June. But I think I can do better than 28.

So, I say "so" a lot, this is what I've decided.

C. Beat 29:25 my last time for this race.
B. 28 minute range
A. Beat my overall PR of 27:35

Honestly, I will be happy with 28. But I'll be pretty damn happy with 27. If I do manage 27... I can't wait until the Freihofer's.

Maybe I'll add the risers & be able to reach
the dish soap. I mean, stretch more.
And now I leave you with the best multitasking idea I have ever come up with. I often do heel raises when I'm brushing my teeth, but I don't often get a chance to stand on my stairs and do heel drops. I pulled out my old step from my stepping days (we all had stepping days right?) and put it in front of the kitchen sink. Now when I'm washing dishes (even with a dishwasher I still have dishes to wash) I can do heel drops and really stretch my calf muscles.

Hopefully I'll be pretty damn happy tomorrow. But really and truly? I'm pretty damn happy already. I'm happy to be racing again. I'm happy to be running. I'm happy to not be vomiting. I'm happy with my little quartet of ragamuffin children. I'm not happy that I smell poopy again.