Monday, February 28, 2011

Running Long

Every time I have reached mile 19 or so in a marathon, I question my sanity. Why do I keep signing up for marathons? What compels me to put myself through the event one more time?

My questions to myself are answered during training. I will never ever be a speed demon. Certainly, I am not a turtle of a runner, but I do not have the desire to train to become a hare. However, when I am running long, I experience complete nirvana. Trudging along, I achieve some sort of zen.

Yesterday, I had 13 miles planned according to my coach. I was planning to get up in the morning and head to South Boston, to connect with my L St running club friends. I got my fussy little baby to bed before 11 which is a miracle; he must know that the only night I need to sleep is on Saturday so he refuses to go to bed on this night. I felt the stars were lining up to get me to Southie.

I woke up in the morning and looked out window. There was snow falling, and my excitement level for my run rose. And then I saw the car in my driveway.... that was blocking in our cars. One of my husband's friends left it there after their night of revelry. It meant that I was not driving in to the club as there were no keys to move the car.

Needless to say, I was not happy. My perfect little plan was set aside. I looked outside and saw our lack of sidewalks and plows rumbling by and realized that it was probably not so safe to head out for a run on the streets of Hingham. But, I was ready to go. Plan C came into action.

Enter my trusty little treadmill. I LOVE running on the treadmill, but 13 is a ominous number to complete on one. I had little choice though but to get on it if I wanted to run at that very moment. The treadmill started up, and I headed along my way.

It was a great run! Honestly! My music motivated me, and I was literally arm dancing on my treadmill while running at times. My shirt that I placed over the display distracted me from how much I had to go and kept me just running by feel. I ran for just over 2 hours without stopping, evenly paced. With my gus and water on the console, there was no reason to stop. And, the realization hit me as it does every training cyle. I love to run long. I think, reflect and connect with my mind and body. The sweat cleanses me, and even though I am technically dirty, the experience purifies me. I need to bottle this little moment, capturing the essence of how I feel when I run long.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Get After It

On Monday, Baby Jack turned one month old. Amazing- my little guy is getting bigger and cuter by the day. He weighs in at a whopping 9 pounds now. More amazing is reflecting on how physically beat up I felt a month ago. I literally felt like I was hit by a truck and had been on a horse too long- simultaneously. I remember walking with my very numb leg in the post-recovery room, on two hours of sleep and thinking that I was absolutely crazy to have registered for the marathon... (and perhaps absolutely crazy that this thought was crossing my mind at the current moment)

I honestly felt that I was never going to be able to run again at that moment. I could barely walk to the bathroom. And, then, the nurse practioner gave me the speech where she tells you not to exercise for six weeks postpartum as she was releasing me from the hospital. I wanted to cry. For the first week home, I felt terrible, sleep deprived and also jealous of my husband when he came up from the treadmill. I was not happy with my fate.

I came to the realization that I could continue to feel lousy or I could get after it.

Get after it- what does this imply for me right now? I need to set goals and go for them. Instead of just wishing I could recover from the labor and delivery, I need to be proactive about recovery. Physical exercise is a huge part of it for me, not just running but also yoga and other things. I also need to be smart about how I try to reach them. I must use a plan to get there so I don't risk injury. Hence why I am using a coach for the first time as I plan to run my seventh marathon.

Our attitude in life largely determines our outcomes. If my attitude is that I can succeed if I put the work in, this whole crazy plan to run Boston will be okay. If I doubt that I can do it, I am setting myself up for failure at the starting line.

Right now, my house may be covered in baby gifts and dog hair, I may not have written one thank you note, but my workouts are completed each day. And, I am so happy because of it.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Adjusting to the new life

There is certainly a new sheriff in town. Baby Jack is the best, but he certainly demands much of my time. I am a woman who loves a schedule and loves being on time, so a newborn with zero sense of time and little obligations is a bit baffling to me. Needless to say, I have had to mellow a bit and go with the flow. This is very hard for me, but I realize that my new boss has not set his own schedule yet.

I have not blogged in almost two weeks, as most of my computer time is done one-handed while nursing. Thus, I have read lots and lots of blogs (and articles and opinion pieces about the BAA and the change in the Boston registration. But, I have been working on writing this blog for four days now!

Although I may not be blogging and my house may be a mess of unopened presents, m workouts have not suffered. I am working with Mary to prep for Boston, and thank heavens I am! I have a bit going on, and it is so easy to simply open up my email and see what I have to do today. I like lists, so for me, this is a great way to train.

I have about 90 different blog posts in my head, and so much to comment on! But for now, I am going to be content with this little post about nothing. Baby steps, right?

Monday, February 7, 2011

8 Measly Miles

Does an 8 mile run count as a long run in marathon training? For old Adrienne, definitely not. For the past two years, that was the minimum length of my Tuesday and Thursday runs during Boston training. For post baby Adrienne, apparently it counts as I finished my first week back running with the longest run that I have completed since finding out I was pregnant.

I blame it on my husband. He wanted to leave the gym, because his workout was done. Otherwise, I would have stayed on longer (or so I tell myself!). Is it depressing that he can run 6 miles and lift weights in the time that it took me to run 8? Very much so- I could not believe that it took me an hour and eighteen minutes to complete that run. Last year at this time, I had the ability to run this same distance in just over an hour.

But, these are merely comparisons, right? I know that I cannot be comparing myself at this time last year to myself at two weeks postpartum. I know that if I tried to run faster at this point, injuries would spring up. Patience has never been a virtue of mine, but I am working very hard to develop it right now.

I am so nervous running right now; it feels fine, but I was told not to run until 6 weeks postpartum. In life, I am a rule follower. I like schedules, and I follow directions very well. Going against doctor's orders is an act of rebellion for me. Unfortunately, I do not have the time to take off if I want to run Boston. I also need the mental release of running right now. It is in EVERYONE's best interest for me to run. I am absolutely in love with my baby boy, but I need a little break sometimes.

8 Measly Miles..... I will take it for what it is, another steppingstone as I journey back to a marathoner.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Newbie

The last few weeks I have felt like such a newbie to everything. I am new to motherhood. I feel as if my husband and I have a new relationship; this little guy has totally strengthened my bond to him. I feel new to running, as I just work with my ten minute miles as I continue my recovery. Even staying at home full time feels new (and a bit awkward I must admit).

Tonight, I returned to yoga for the first time since I had Jack. I had run three miles on the treadmill earlier and was looking to do a little bit more. Once again, I felt new to the entire experience. Though my mind knew the postures, my body acted as if I was learning them all over again. I went to hot yoga just three days before I went into labor with Jack, and I practiced throughout my pregnancy. However, tonight, I did not have a big belly at practice. All the modifications that I had made for the past months were pushed aside. I was not worried about balance during crow so I could challenge myself to do it tonight. There were no more excuses to hold back. However, after not doing this posture for some time, it was as if I was attempting it for the first time. In half moon, I was off balance because it was strange to not have the stomach anymore. My body was retraining itself the entire practice.

Tonight's yoga was a great practice for me. It reminded me that the next few months are going to be full of new challenges. It will be frustrating at times, but I just need to remember that I have to be willing to attempt things. I must remind myself that as everything does with practice, my mind and body will embrace my new life.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Recovering from the Arrival of Baby Jack

 

Poor little baby Jack probably thinks that world is a snow covered place.  It has literally done nothing but snow since he arrived into the world on January 21st at 8AM.  Right now, in Boston, we are experiencing heavy snowfall with an estimated forecast of 15 inches.

The snow covered roads are making me feel a little less guilty about the fact that I have not started training for Boston yet.  Each week, I look at my running club’s homepage and become very jealous about their long runs.  I LOVE long runs.  They are my favorite workout.  But, I am still recovering from the arrival of Baby Jack and just not ready to pound the pavement for hours yet.

No one EVER told me that recovering from birth would be this difficult.  Maybe it was my own naivety, but I did not expect it to take this long.  I thought that keeping myself in shape would help with the recovery.  But, in the ten days since Jack was born, I only have been able to walk, and I ran a whopping two miles very slow on Sunday.  And, according to my hospital discharge instructions, these activities were illegal.  The doctor told me no physical activity for 6 weeks.  Clearly, she is out of her mind. It was not my actual doctor, so she obviously did not read that I worked out until the day before my water broke.

But back to the recovery- it hurts!  Jack was almost 20 inches and 7 pounds 13 ounces upon arrival.  He also required 4 hours of pushing- it took me twenty four LESS minutes to run the marathon last year! Needless to say, he tore me open on his entry into the world, giving me almost 20 stitches in various places and a severe case of anemia due to blood loss.  Last week, I was dizzy and hobbling and wondering why the stork did not deliver him to me.  Jack is TOTALLY worth it, but he certainly did a number on my body.

As a runner, I have learned to push through discomfort.  Recovering from giving birth makes me feel like a new runner again.  I am unsure of what is good pain and what is bad pain.  I am anxious, testing the waters, and uncertain.

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Today, we are once again stuck at home due to the snow.  I intended to go to yoga, but our driveway is VERY steep and I was nervous that I would not get back up it with the snow.  So, I lounged around most of the day (which really translates into nursing and changing the baby most of the day) until I finally decided to walk on the treadmill.  After 1/4 mile, I realized that it was not doing much for me.  I decided to run the next quarter at a ten minute pace.  Since it felt good, I kept going…. until I hit five miles.  It was a HUGE victory for me in this recovery.  It certainly was not my best run, but I felt like me for the first time since I had Jack.

Jack is 100% worth it.  I never imagined that I would have such a sweet little boy.  I cannot believe my body made such a wonderful little thing.  But, selfishly, I was glad today to see that now it can do more than just breastfeed!

 

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My two boys