Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Watch out if you're a blueberry!

Over the course of my pregnancies I've had a few different food cravings. With Hot Wheels I wanted Subway turkey sandwiches with extra, extra, extra southwest sauce. I think what I really wanted was some bread soaked in southwest sauce, with a little turkey, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles on the side. With Superman I craved french fries for a while (probably why I weighed 222 pounds when I delivered him!) but don't remember any really strong cravings other than that. This time around I've had a few things I wanted for a day or two but nothing too strong. Until Monday. It was about 2:45pm and I was working at my lab bench when all of a sudden I wanted blueberries. Now. What I really wanted was a blueberry walnut coffee cake with cinnamon crumb topping, but blueberries were the overwhelming craving. I went home and ate some frozen blueberries we had in the back of the freezer and that helped. Yesterday morning I had my bowl of Kashi Oat Flakes with Blueberries cereal (okay, so I had 2 bowls) and was good until about 2:45pm again. On the way home I couldn't fit it anymore and I stopped at Dunkin Donuts and bought myself a blueberry muffin and a blueberry bagel for the boys to eat in the car while we were driving to our friends' house to play. Oh, now that muffin was so worth it- a far cry from the blueberry muffin I bought in the cafeteria a few weeks ago that had 2 blueberries in it. This morning I had another double serving of my blueberry cereal but I'm already day dreaming of hitting the grocery store on my way home to buy everything to make up a batch of blueberry muffins myself. I'll double the blueberries, of course, so the muffin barely stays together around all those mushy, warm delicious blueberries. Oh, and maybe I'll eat it with some strawberries on the side. What could be better than that?

And listen: "Snip, snip"-that's the sound of me cutting myself some slack for the past 2 days of poor workouts- or none. Yesterday was none, this morning was a half hearted treadmill incline walk for 10 minutes followed by about 25 minutes on a spin bike, chatting with the woman next to me about all sorts of stuff. I don't even think I started sweating. I had intended to get up and swim but when I woke up I was all congested again, and I had that awful waking-up-with-a-cold feeling as though someone had used my tongue as a treadmill while wearing sweaty socks. As excited as I am to try out my new swim paddles (I really am) and wear my new maternity swimsuit (not really), I just couldn't breathe well enough. I've read that some women get very stuffy during pregnancy and while I didn't have that the first 2 times around, maybe that's just one more way in which this time around is different. I hope I'm feeling back to normal tomorrow, it's my favorite cardio class at 6am.

We had so much fun playing in the snow the other day, although we never did get to go sledding because it started melting by the time I got home. There was enough left for building some snowmen, pushing the runner sled around the house with the boys riding and then playing some hide-and-seek. The hide-and-seek didn't require snow, I realize, but that's a current favorite with the boys and it was nice to play outside for a change. We could hear Superman yelling "3, 4, 5, 6, Ready! Here comes me!" as only an adorable 2-year-old can. Obviously we have to hide quickly when he's counting by himself.

And thanks for the positive thoughts after my last post. I am happy enough with my current balance and it works for all of us. Triathlons aren't going anywhere- I'll get there when I get there.

Pregnancy status: 16 weeks, 3 days; 165 days to go.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Less an athlete, more mom

I realize that it's no one's fault but mine that I don't make more time for workouts. I'm certainly not trying to say that women that do find time to workout are less mothers than I am, they've just found a better way to balance family life and triathlete life than I have thus far. We finally had a few inches of snow when I woke up Friday morning so I decided to skip the workout, get to work early and then I'd be able to leave early and come home to take the boys sledding. Well, by 11am the snow was almost all melted, then my afternoon that had looked clear on Thursday was booked with a meeting from 1-1:30pm and then another from 2-3pm. The second one was cut short, but still, I didn't have a chance to leave as early as I had hoped, despite being at my desk at 6:15am. It's just not worth skipping the workout, even with the best of intentions. I figured I could fit in at least one run over the weekend and you can probably guess where I'm headed with that recap. Saturday I was meeting up with a friend from high school that I haven't seen in over 5 years. We were supposed to get together for lunch about noon and I was going to run in the afternoon. He called a little before 11:30am and said he was running late, he'd call me. Well, I wasn't sure what time it would be so I put off the run, we didn't end up getting together until 3pm and by the time I got home it was time for dinner, baths, bed, etc and the run didn't happen. Then this morning we left for church at 8:45am, I had a Sunday school teachers' meeting after service and then we met my parents for lunch and an afternoon at their house. We didn't get home until 5:30pm and again here we are at almost bedtime, so a workout did not happen today, either. A more dedicated person would have found just 45 minutes for a quick 30 minute run and shower, I'm sure. I, however, am not that more dedicated person. I spent every minute of the past 2 days with the boys (except the hour I was out yesterday afternoon visiting with my friend) and to me it was time well spent. Given that we've got another one on the way, I don't see myself adding regular weekend workouts for many years. Unless they happen very early in the morning, and I admit that after getting up at 4:40am five mornings a week, I try to sleep in on the weekends until about 6:30am when the boys get up.

It was funny this afternoon at my parents' house. My old bedroom is still full of many of the knickknacks from younger years, including some swimming and sailing trophies and various medals from cross-county, track, Special Olympics and a few random things like a US Army National Scholar Athlete award that I won in high school- I was pretty proud of that one. Anyway, the boys love wearing the medals that I have at home and they were very excited to see all the medals and trophies that grandma had to show them. Matthew's convinced that I was some sort of champion swimmer and runner and of course, grandma fed right into that enthusiasm. It was flattering to hear, as unfounded as it was. I kept telling Matthew that those medals weren't all for winning but as long as I did my best, that was good enough. I was pretty good at the high jump and javelin in track, I have a few medals from our regional championships in those events. I was, however, a pitiful cross country runner. As I've mentioned before, I don't think I ever ran faster than a 10-minute mile in all four years of high school cross country, but I did my best and I look back on my experiences with the team fondly. My Special Olympics medals are important to me, not because of the medals themselves, but because of the memories they bring back when I see them. I coached track, soccer, volleyball, swimming and competed in Unified Sports in softball and bowling. The spirit that those athletes took into, and out of, every competition inspiring and my years of involvement were such a great experience and I look forward to getting my kids involved with Special Olympics when they're old enough to compete in Unified Sports.

I guess that's enough rambling for one evening.

Pregnancy status: 16 weeks in; 168 days to go. So far I've gained 7 pounds and I'm still averaging 5 days a week working out. I'm planning to get more swimming in now that my maternity suit has arrived!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

In memory of Cathy 1961-2006

Taking the day off from regular posting because tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of the death of a good friend. I was inspired to train for my first triathlon as a way to celebrate her life. After she passed away I wanted to do something active to remember her. While my fundraising efforts were not for a breast cancer research charity, she supported all medical research efforts because she knew that any disease was devastating to the patient and family. Here's just a small part of her story and tonight I'll say an extra little prayer with the boys as our friend watches us from Heaven.

When someone dies I know that people often romanticize their life and make them seem like an even better person. When Cathy died no one had to romanticize or exaggerate anything to illustrate what a wonderful person she was and how much she would be missed. It’s funny that I worked in the same building as Cathy for almost 4 years in Michigan but had to move to Connecticut to meet her. When a bunch of us transferred we all started having lunch and hanging out. At first I noticed she was pretty shy and reserved, which I am not, so I felt a little over-bearing and wondered whether we would become friends. I quickly realized that she was one of the nicest people I knew and I was very glad that we became friends.

She was one of the most positive and upbeat people I have known. I found out after we had known each other for a while that she had survived breast cancer back in Michigan. She was not far from her five-year mark of remission when she found out the cancer had come back in 2004. She underwent a few months of treatments and during that time you’d never know she was a woman undergoing cancer treatments. She came to work during her radiation treatments, as much as her health would allow. When we saw each other for lunch she sometimes joked about the Sharpie marks on her chest and side that they used to line up the radiation machine. The colors wouldn’t really match with any of her clothes. She spoke so proudly of her son, Tyler, who told her that he would shave his head if her hair fell out during the treatments and she was relieved when she found out it wouldn’t. She was only in remission about six months when she found that not only was the cancer back, but it had spread.

Cathy found out some time around Thanksgiving that she would be going through treatments again. I saw her the first week of December when she stopped by at work to talk. She didn’t mention anything about the cancer and after she left my office-mate and I both commented to each other how good she looked. We talked about the kids and our holiday plans, I’m sure there was some idle chit-chat about nothing and then she had to get going. We made vague plans to get together for lunch before the holiday break if possible and as she turned to leave she kicked her shoe off and sort of tripped. We joked about it briefly and she left laughing. That was the last memory of Cathy I have and I’m glad it’s such a nice one. She left work less than 2 weeks later and I found out that she was hospitalized during the holiday week. She was in and out of the hospital a few times, I believe, between then and February.

I can’t imagine what her last two months were like, I’ve heard from another friend that they were pretty tough. I sent her a card in January and she sent me a thank you note. She said she didn’t want me to worry that she didn’t receive the card. She was very thoughtful about things like that, especially when she had so much going on herself she was thinking about my feelings. We spoke on the phone once in January and made tentative plans that when she was feeling up to it I’d bring over some lunch. I had no idea how quickly things turned from there. Her birthday was in the middle of February but I didn’t get a card out in time. I bought a card for her on February 19th and it was still sitting on my desk when I got the call that she had passed away two days later. I was really upset with myself that I hadn’t gotten that card in the mail earlier because I wanted her to know that I was thinking of her. I also felt sorry for myself because I never really got to say good-bye. There are times where it still doesn’t seem real that she’s not here anymore, I half expect to walk by her lab and see her working. She was a truly special person and I know that my life is better because I got to know her.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

I was about to get up

And then, I just didn't. Thursday night the boys were both in bed by 8pm and I hit the sheets at 8:15pm, I think I was fully asleep about 8:17pm. I was very excited about that. Unfortunately, at 1:15am, the sleep came to an end. Hot Wheels came in to tell me that Superman was upset and needed me. When I got there he was a bit whiny, seemed like he might have had a slight fever and was just out of sorts. So, I laid down in his bed and didn't sleep. Every time I tried to move out of his bed, the pathetic whining came back and I could tell he really wasn't feeling well, so I stayed. About 4:20 I looked over at the clock and said to myself "20 minutes and then I'll get up to go to the pool". All of a sudden, it was 6:00- I'd fallen back to sleep for over an hour and a half! So, no pool, oh well. There's always next week. I finally found a website with maternity bathing suits that actually look like they're make for swimming. So many of them are the spaghetti strap 2-piece suits- even if they are somewhat covering tankinis- they just don't seem practical for swimming. So, that's my gift to myself. I'm also buying one of the lap counters that you wear on just one finger, so you don't need 2 hands to count the laps. I'm looking forward to getting that! I may even throw in hand paddles, since I know I've got a little money coming my way in a couple weeks. Don't know whether they'll be here in time for Wednesday or Friday's pool workout this week, but my suit should be alright for at least a couple more weeks.

The week ended much better than it started nutritionally. I hit the local warehouse store and bought my favorite fruit salad stuff again- mangoes, strawberries, kiwis and grapes- no blueberries, though, bummer. I also got some Kashi Blueberry flakes cereal which I enjoyed for breakfast rather than the muffins. When I was in the cafeteria the next time, the muffins just weren't all that tempting, so I hope I've gone through and gotten out of, that craving phase. I'm sure another phase will come along soon.

I'd like to hit the treadmill again this afternoon if possible, to see if another 2 miles feels as good as it did on Wed. However, Paul's not feeling so well so that will dictate how the day goes. We might hit a children's museum that's about an hour drive from here, although given the cold weather and that fact that many kids start school vacation Monday, it might be quite crowded. Not sure I could brave the crowds on my own with Superman- he is faster than a speeding bullet sometimes. If Paul's not feeling well, me might have to postpone the museum trip. We haven't had a quiet hanging out weekend in a long time, though, so that would be fine, too.

Pregnancy status: 14 weeks, 6 days; 176 days to go.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

My New T3, and I have no willpower

First, 2 things. 1) Thanks for checking up on me, I'm around, things have just been a bit more hectic than usual lately. 2) I saw my last post this morning and felt bad that I was making fun of the butterfly lady. I should have admitted that I don't butterfly because someone might jump in the pool to rescue me. Also, there are quite a few regulars at the pool that are older and they're there every day, putting in more effort than I usually do. They're there for the exercise, relaxation, and sometimes company, I think. They can swim with whatever form they want, I hope I've got their commitment and energy when I'm that age.

Workout-wise it's been a good week so far. Monday was kickboxing, yesterday I was on the elliptical trainer and this morning I decided I'd run a bit. I haven't run in a few weeks and I wanted to see how it would go. Last time I ran a 10-minute mile I felt like it was going to kill me, but I set the treadmill there, put the towel over the display and off I ran. From a cardio standpoint I felt great, but then, I had to pee. I checked the time and I was 8 minutes in, I decided to wait until the 10 minute mark and then hit T3- the bathroom. That mile felt pretty good. I went to pee- was aggravated that it barely seemed worth the effort of walking all the way to the bathrooms for the amount there was- and then started up again for mile 2. Again, 8 minutes in, I had to pee. This time I just ignored it, made the 10 minute mark and then walked the third mile. I know it's just because the baby is sitting practically on my bladder that I think I have to pee when I don't. But he or she is only the size of a lemon from what I read- how does one little lemon cause so must discomfort?! Overall, a decent workout and as I mentioned, for the cardio I was really happy with how good I felt. Not sure how much longer into pregnancy I'll be able to run, but switching to the elliptical trainer will work, too. I should have gone swimming this morning, but with the nor'easter we're supposed to be in the middle of right now (it was basically some ice/rain/snow crap mix this morning) I decided to head right for the covered parking at work and skip the pool.

So I've covered the positive of the week, being the workouts, here's the negative. I have NO willpower and I've eaten like a pig for the past 3 days. I bring my own breakfast and lunch here to work because the cafeteria's pretty expensive. Monday I had no milk or bananas for my cereal so I did head down to the cafeteria. I got some strawberries, some milk, and then I saw them. The bakery muffins the size of my head that I used to eat before Superman was born. I actually had one almost every morning I was pregnant with him (no wonder I was so fat!) and had not had one since. The lemon poppy seed muffin was just calling my name, and I bought it. Another one yesterday and this morning it's blueberry. At least I'm out of money after this morning's muffin so I won't be hitting the cafeteria any more. Monday I also didn't have my Lean Cuisines for lunch, so off to the cafeteria again. Usually I hit the salad bar but for some reason the cheddar turkey burger with fries was screaming my name. Again, willpower took a hike and I ate it all. I've given myself these three days, but NO MORE. If I use pregnancy as an excuse to eat anything and everything I want, I'll be back in the same spot I was when Superman was born- fat mom who has no energy to do anything. And this time around there will be 3 kids at home that need attention. So, I'm putting it here in black and white (or green or whatever color I've got here)- I'm now back on track with my nutrition. Food tracker, here I come. I'll have to fess up to the approximately 500 calories I just polished off with that muffin, but I'm over it and moving on. I do still have a Friday morning blueberry pancake, but that's a weekly breakfast meeting and it has to be done. I go light on the syrup anyway.

I'm updating this because I ate the muffin after I posted and it was completely not worth the calories. If I have a blueberry muffin I want at least one blueberry in every bite. Preferably, the muffin would barely stay together because it's so full of blueberries it practically falls apart. This one, not so much. I didn't eat about a third of it because it was just white cake. The good part is I'm much less inclined to be tempted by it again knowing it wasn't that good. That lemon poppy seed, though, whoa- that might have been worth the calories.

On a fun note, Hot Wheels has discovered that he really likes games. Yesterday afternoon Superman was napping (this cold is still conking him out sometimes), and Paul, Hot Wheels and I played Memory, Chutes and Ladders, Boggle Jr. and Zingo. It's so much fun that he can play things that are also somewhat interesting for us. It's sometimes hard to teach the concepts of how to accept winning and losing, but we're getting better. It will be so much fun when we can all play together, I see pizza picnic nights and family games nights in the future. It doesn't get much better than this!

Pregnancy status: 14 weeks, 3 days; 179 days to go.

Friday, February 09, 2007

I didn't drown, does that mean I was swimming?

I woke up this morning about 6 minutes before the alarm. I like it when that happens because I guess it means I'm really done sleeping, but I hate it because that's six whole minutes I could have been sleeping! Recently Paul made a comment to me that I've been tired for the past 17 years and I guess in a way he's right. Before I got pregnant the first time I was a pretty poor sleeper, it took me a long time to fall asleep and then I would often wake up and have a hard time going back to sleep. However, something about that first pregnancy changed my sleeping habits and now I can fall asleep almost instantly and I could sleep through the night great, except now we have kids that don't sleep. Oh well, that's life.

Anyway, I woke up and just didn't feel like going to the pool. I stayed in bed for about 5 minutes actually arguing with myself about whether I should get up and swim, go to the gym instead or just skip it and sleep. I got up to brush my teeth, use the bathroom etc and realized my gym clothes weren't an option because they were in my bedroom and I'd wake someone up going to get them. Going back to sleep wasn't an option since I'd already brushed my teeth and was wide awake. The only options left were to go to the pool or just shower at work and get to work early. I decided to put on my swim suit and head to the pool but for some reason I still didn't want to go. I got to the parking lot and actually sat there for a few minutes still not wanting to swim. I finally said to myself, out loud "Stop being stupid, you love swimming." and I got out of the car and went to the pool. As soon as I got in the water I was glad that I had gone, I do love to swim. However, it took me only the first 100 yards to warm up and then my cold started rearing it's ugly head. I stopped breathing out my nose for fear that I'd turn the pool into some colloidal suspension of water and my snot. When I stopped breathing out of my nose it actually became quite difficult to swim well. I did a few more full laps and then went to kicking for a little while. When I felt better I grabbed my pull buoy and decided to do a few pull laps. After only a few strokes I realized I was having a really hard time holding onto that buoy. That's when I realized that because of the cold weather this week my skin was cracking like crazy, so I've been putting lotion on. The coconut lotion residue on my legs made it really hard to hang onto the buoy, but at least it added an inner thigh workout that's not part of my regular swim routine. I did some more 100s of full swim, kick and pull.
Then another woman joined my lane. Now I'm no swimming Olympian or expert but I was just not prepared to see what happened next. She said there were no free lanes so she'd like to join me and I said sure, no problem. I was kicking at the time and she got in. When I turned at the opposite end of the pool I almost laughed when I saw her. I think she was doing the butterfly, but no part of her body actually broke the plane of the water. Her arms came forward but they were still in the water so a ripple of water was pushed out in front of her and I believe the force of pushing against that water was pushing her backwards. It looked like she was doing snow angels on her stomach- in the dead center of the lane. To her credit as I got closer she did stop the arm movement so I could get by without getting hit. I felt bad for her because she was obviously working hard but I think that her first 50 yards took over 3 minutes, and I'm not exaggerating. After the first 50 yards she switched to breaststroke, which looked equally as tiring since I think she must have taken 60 strokes per length of the pool. She was fine to share a lane with space-wise, so I'm not really complaining. just surprised.
I lasted 30 minutes in the pool, didn't even know how far I had swam and decided I'd just get out and head to work. Not drowning is about the best that can be said for that "workout", although drowning would have been bad so I'm also not really complaining. At least I got some sort of workout all five mornings, even though this cold is still hanging on.

Two personal notes- today our dogs turn six years old. It's Friday pizza picnic night anyway so the boys get ice cream for dessert but I'm going to stop on the way home from work and pick up a snack for the dogs and a new toy or bone for each of them. We always said that even when we had kids we'd still pay the same amount of attention to our dogs. I admit we don't- not even close really. But the boys do love them, too, and they're such good dogs we try to remember to keep them involved with the family and let them know they're loved. Happy birthday, puppies! And, today is the 16th anniversary of when Paul and I started dating (well, for the second time but that's a long story), I never would have thought it would lead to this life, but I'm so lucky that he gave me that second chance. While he's not perfect, neither am I, but I think we're perfect for each other.

Pregnancy status: 13 weeks, 5 days; 184 days to go.

Monday, February 05, 2007

It's almost 4am, let's dress up!

Last night I moved out to the couch about 2am because I was having trouble getting comfortable and breathing while lying in bed. About 3:50am I heard Superman coughing a little and talking to himself. I didn't want him to know I was still home so I waited, hoping he'd go back to sleep. Then, just before 4am I heard him walk into our bedroom saying "Wear dis, Daddy, wanna wear dis. I sit couch now." Before I knew it he was running down the hallway. He'd gotten up, gone to the costume bin in his closet and pulled out his Superman costume and wanted to wear it. He saw me on the couch, yelled "Mommy home!" and came running. I got him back to his bed and laid down to get him settled back down, I hoped. It was about 4:07am when I got him back there. He rolled around, talked with me and was generally restless until approximately 4:50am when I finally told him I had to go to work. He started crying and asking for Dad, so I woke Paul up, again, and he went into Superman's room. Apparently he did go back to sleep some time after 5am for about an hour. He's been up ever since and it's about 7pm now, he seemed sleepy about 5pm but we kept him awake, albeit cranky, because a nap would have ruined bedtime for tonight. I just hope he goes to sleep on time and stays asleep.

I did drag my tired butt to the gym, though, and had a pretty good spin/cardio interval class. It felt good to get in a good workout, although I was still having a little trouble breathing through the snot. Sorry if that's TMI. It didn't get about 19 degrees today, either. The only thing I'm braving the outdoors for was to pump gas. I greatly admire all of you cold weather runners and athletes out there. With my asthma the cold weather makes me feel like my lungs are on fire if I try anything much more strenuous than walking from the house to the car. I'll stick with the gym and the pool, thank you.

Pregnancy status: 13 weeks, 1 day; 188 days to go.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Zip, zilch, nada, ZERO

That is about the sum total of what I accomplished this week after Monday. The cold that I was coming down with on Tuesday has hung on with more tenacity than any other cold I can remember. This morning at church the other teacher in the our Sunday school class commented that she was surprised I still sounded so sick when I had been sick last Sunday. I think people generally tend to get predominantly the same cold symptoms most times they get sick. For me that's a dry, deep chest cough that makes me sound like a seal barking. I had that for a day and the usual chest tightness that goes with it. Since then, though, the congestion has been enough to nearly drive me crazy. I must have blown at least 4 pounds of snot out through my nose- I filled the garbage can in my office all by myself. My nose was running so much I'm sure it could have finished an ultramarathon- just not attached to my body. The first two days were good though, because even though I didn't get to the gym I also wasn't in the mood to eat anything. Then my appetite came back but I still had no energy or ability to breathe. So I've basically been doing nothing but eating, sitting around and sleeping since last Tuesday. I thought I was getting better on Friday, but this weekend I've been miserable. Enough pity party, it's a cold and I'll survive, the plan is to get back to the gym in the morning.

We're off to the aquarium this aternoon to give the boys something un to do before we settle in to watch the Superbowl tonight. I'm amazed at how the kids deal with illness. They had the same cold earlier this week- running noses, sore throats, etc. and it barely slowed them a step. I wish I had their energy. We're not big Chicago or Indianapolis fans, but we do love football so the last game of the year is significant at our house. I splurged on a bag buffalo ranch Doritoes and a small can of chocolate covered cashews. We try to indulge with a little moderation, we'll see how successful that is- if the whole bag is gone by half time, we likely failed in that attempt. It's also unlikely I'll be awake past halftime, so I'm hoping for a good first half of football.

Alright, new week, back on track!

Pregnancy status: 13 weeks, 189 days to go. The maternity clothes came out yesterday, and they're so-o-o-o-o comfortable.