Friday, October 28, 2011

Baby Z is here!!!

I've been MIA that last few weeks, but I have a wonderful reason. Baby Z arrived on Monday, October 3rd! I have been ensconced in baby explosion since then.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

My (sometimes) Running Buddy & Guilty Pleasures

I saw several online news posts this week about an ugly rumor that Apple is going to discontinue their iPod Classic and iPod Shuffle. If you felt a tremor on the Richter scale yesterday that was probably from the decibel level of me screaming "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!" I love my shuffle. I mean love, LOVE (other than the gawd-awful 3rd generation re-design debacle).  I don't always run with music. If I'm running with people or just on a short easy run I don't bring music. I enjoy the conversation or soak up the environment around me. Now if I'm on a long run by myself or being forced to *ACK* run on the dreadmill then I bring the tunes along. They motivate me and keep me from crazy dreadmill boredom. I've even listened to audiobooks while on the long run.

The iPod Shuffle is just the perfect little running buddy. It's small, clips anywhere I want and is cost effective (= cheap). And 2 gigs of music is WAY more than I'll ever need on a long distance run. Plus, I do not like having anything strapped to my arms. I have tried running with a Nano and my iTouch. Meh.  I kept getting distracted by this ginormous velcro blood-pressure cuff strapped around my arm. There was a lot of grumbling in the Twitter world amongst athletes about Apple's rumored decision. I'm not the only one that loves their shuffle. I imagine that Apple will try and market the Nano 6th generation as the "new" and "improved" running buddy. I'm not buying it. I sweat profusely when I run. My clothes are usually soaked. The idea of clipping a $150 nano to my body to get drenched in sweat just isn't as appealing. I've already been through two Shuffles. (Side note: they do not like it when you pour Powerade all over them). I usually keep one or two in my desk as "back-ups to the back-up Shuffle". I don't know what I'm going to do if my little running buddy goes away. If Apple makes their announcement this week I suspect there will be a mad rush on Shuffle purchases - most of them by athletes. I know I will stockpile several for use until I can find a decent alternative.

*awkward segue*

 This whole Shuffle thing also got me thinking about updating my current Shuffle and what songs I like to put on it. Now I know all runners talk about playlists ad nauseum:
  • what are the best songs for a running playlist?
  • what songs are between 160 to 180 bpm (for cadence work)?
  • what songs motivate you best? 
  • (and so on and so forth...)
We're not going to talk about that here. We're going to talk about guilty pleasure songs. You know, those ones you have on your playlist that you're embarrassed to admit. The ones that are full of cheese, bad boy-band pop or ones that link you back to some good, gooey memory in your past. I have quite a few guilty pleasure songs on mine. These just get me moving and grooving. I have a hard time keeping myself from running, singing and spazztastically dancing when these songs come on (yeah....picture it). I thought I would share so that we all can come out of hiding and wave our uncool music proudly. Don't judge. :)
  • L.O.V.E. - Ashlee Simpson
  • Good Times - INXS
  • Cherry, Cherry - Neil Diamond
  • Baby (You've Got What it Takes) - Brook Benton & Dinah Shore
  • Cecilia - Simon & Garfunkle
  • Love Somebody - Rick Springfield
  • Now that We Found Love - Heavy D and the Boyz
  • Maniac - Michael Sembello
  • The Lion Sleeps Tonight - Tokens
  • 54-46 Was My Number - Toots & The Maytals
  • Everybody (Backstreet's Back) - Backstreet Boys
  • (You Drive Me) Crazy - Britney Spears
  • Barbie Girl - Aqua
  • Stir It Up - Patti LaBelle
  • The Other Woman - Ray Parker Jr.
  • Humpin' Around - Bobby Brown
  • I'm Free (Heaven Helps the Man) - Kenny Loggins
  • Faded - soulDecision
What are some of your guilty pleasure songs?

Today I am thankful for: cool, crisp fall weather and pumpkin spice lattes!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hating the taper

Taper. It's a dreaded word by many a runner. It's that time when you significantly reduce your weekly mileage before a big race to let your body rest and prepare. After months of slowly increasing mileage, building endurance, and seeing tangible gains and accomplishments it's hard to downgrade back down to a couple of weeks of easy mileage. While I understand and agree with the necessity of the taper I still dislike it. What is it that we hate so much? For me it's the mental game and the waiting. First, I am not a patient person. I'm not good at waiting. Also, it's often in these taper weeks that questions and self-doubt start to creep in. Yes, idle hands (or feet) are the devil's playground.

"Will I beat my PR?"
"Am I losing fitness with this little mileage?"
"Am I prepared for the race distance?"
"Will I fall on my face?"
"Can I even do this?"

I am entering the last few weeks (days actually) of my pregnancy and I find I'm struggling with the same issues. I'm in a pregnancy taper so to speak. My body isn't allowing me to keep the "mileage" up that I'm used to. Even normal daily routine things have become difficult or just plain uncomfortable. The doctor says Baby Z could come at any time now, but they can't tell me when. I'm having to rest. I'm having to wait.

As with marathon training, the taper sucks.

"Will I be able to handle childbirth?"
"How will I handle the life change?"
"Am I truly prepared to be a mom?"
"Will I fall on my face?"
"Can I even do this?"

Instead of questioning and freaking out about the race, I'm questioning and freaking out about Baby Z. I am running the emotional gamut from excitement for his arrival, to denial (is this really happening?), to fear. One of the things that I find comforting (as cheesy as it sounds) is reflecting on marathon training. I survived the wait then. I completed both marathons with a finishing time I was proud of. I came out on the other side better and improved for all my hard work, perseverance, and patience (what little I have). I CAN do this!

So my question to you is what are your thoughts on the taper and how do you deal with it?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dealing with jealousy and runner envy

I had a wonderful lunch today with my two best running pals. They wanted to take me out for a birthday/pre-baby lunch. I loved seeing them and catching up with them. We talked about babies and books and life and running. They are training for and running the Mississippi Blues Marathon in Jackson, MS in January. It will be one's first marathon and the other's second.

As I sat there and listened to them talk about training plans and fitting long runs in and planning for the next long run, I started to get jealous and full of runner envy! Me, Miss Chatty-McChatty Pants, got all quiet and clammed up. Who was this green-eyed monster rearing it's ugly head? I was upset that I couldn't be out there training with them and sharing the miles and stories. I was upset that I wasn't going to be able to have this experience with them. I felt left out and frustrated. That then lead to feelings of embarrassment and shame. I should be 100% supportive of my friends not bratty because I can't run this race with them. I was dealing with resentment: towards them for running without me and towards this pregnancy for keeping me from something I love: running and training for big races. Ugly, ugly, ugly...

I came home, had a good cry, and meditated/prayed on it. I decided I needed to put on my big girl panties (I hate the word panties but love the saying) and GET OVER IT! No more whiny self-pity indulgences. My friends need my encouragement and support! I need my encouragement and support! So what if I can't be out there logging miles with them right now. What I CAN do is support them and be a part of their training in my own way. Some of the things that I came up with:
  • Compile and text/email them motivational running quotes before their long runs
  • Put together 20 miler care packages (ibuprofen packs, menthol foot cream, carb-loading cookies, etc.)
  • Meet them for coffee after their long runs to be a sounding board about the grueling mileage
  • Meet them at the end of the long runs to run in those last grueling miles with them.
I know I'll be back out there with them in 2012! Working on my 2012 race schedule helps me deal with my runner envy. Knowing I have some great races planned gets me excited and vamped up for postpartum recovery and training. It's my way of encouraging and supporting myself.

How do you deal with runner envy?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Inside the Mind of a Runner

This is one of my favorite posts from my old blog. I thought it was worth a repeat here. Enjoy!

To run or not to run

Sitting on the couch, outfitted in my running clothes, I have visions of Cameron in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. “He’ll keep calling meeee…. I’ll go. I’ll go….I’ll go”

Trying to motivate myself, I pull my sluggish body off of the couch, “I’ll go. I’ll go….I’ll go!”

Slowly I walk to the end of the block to my starting point - the stop sign. I bargain with myself, “One lap; that’s all you need to do. Just get through one lap. One point eight miles – you can do it. Easy.”

Ipod shuffle. Check. Shoes laced. Check. Deodorant. Check. Let’s go.

0.5 miles

The weather is great today. That rain really cooled things down. Nice breeze going, lightly blowing against my face. Ohhh… here comes a guy running the other way. OK, pick up the pace a bit. Look like you know what you’re doing here. Look like you’re an avid runner. Wave back. Smile and head nod. OK, he’s gone. Slooowww back down. Back to the agony.

1.0 miles

I hate the first mile. Man, this hurts. Where is that runner that was training for the half marathon? I liked her. She was smooth, strong, … confident. Where did this jiggly, spastic stride come from? Awww, what a cute dog. THEY won yard of the month? Would fajitas be good for dinner?

1.5 miles

OK, now I’m finding my stride! This isn’t so bad. I am an efficient running machine! Breathe in, breathe out…breathe in, breathe out. Relax your arms and shoulders. Ohhh…I like this song! I think I’ll speed up the pace a bit.

1.8 miles

OH MY GOD – that’s the longest song EVER! I hate that song! Fast forward. OK, coming up on one lap. How do I feel? Should I go for one more? Lungs, how’re you holding up?

“We’re a little tight, but holding on! Keep going!”


“Still pumping away! Keep going!”


“We’re just getting warmed up down here! Keep going!”

All right, knees you’re the weak link in the system. How are things with you guys?

“Wee’r givin’ ‘er all she’s got Capt’n but I don’ know how much longer she’ll hold.”

(Why my knees sound like Scotty from Star Trek I don’t know, but it makes me smile.)

Consensus – Keep going!

2.0 miles

Here comes the guy again. Head nod. Smile. I wish he would quit passing me! It’s hard to keep this pace up.

2.5 miles

I’m really finding my pace today. This actually feels great. How about adding a little speed work? Ok, sprint to the end of the street. Ready…Go!

2.7 miles

Ouch. That hurt.

3.0 miles

I’m rounding the last corner. Only half a mile to go. Relax the arms and shoulders. OK, time to trade out my tired legs for “NEW LEGS”. Commence with Operation New Legs.

3.4 miles

Bring it on HOME. Strong finish…The stop sign is only a few feet away now. I think I can, I think I can!

3.5 miles

Wow – what a high! I feel amazing! The runner’s still in there – I just had to dig a little for her. I feel like I could conquer the world right now! All right stop-sign, same time tomorrow. See you then.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

You know you're a runner when...

After tweeting with @Dubyawife this morning it really got me going and thinking of all the great little gems we do, see, and learn as runners. I will list several of my own and several more compiled from twitter runners. Hilarious stuff and I'm guilty of most. Please comment on my blog or tweet me with your own and I'll add them!

You know you're a runner when:
  • you know how long it takes for a black toenail to grow out.
  • you know how long it takes for a black toenail to fall off.
  • you have painted the skin where you toenail should be.
  • you are an expert in anti-friction creams...and not for dirty reasons.
  • you think compression clothing is sexy.
  • IT stands for Illotibial Band, not Information Technology
  • you can hold your own with any medical talk regarding piriformis, illotibial, popliteal, meniscus, plantar fascia or medial tibial stress.
  • you have a specific "race fee" fund set aside in your budget every year.
  • you logged more weekly running miles on your shoes than you did on your vehicle.
  • you can easily convert kilometers to miles in your head.
  • breakfast is followed by 2nd breakfast and lunch is followed by 2nd lunch.
  • you actively analyze the color of your pee.
  • you refer to a new race distance as your "first" race at that distance (as in..I'm running my "first" marathon this year).
  • your outside training motto is similar to the US Post Office "neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow...

  • your nips are like fine grade sandpaper. I use them for finishing work. ~@jeffswain
  • your kids' bedtime story is just about "bunions" and a blue ox, no "Paul" ~@razmataz6969
  • you mistakenly put on Body Glide instead of your deoderant. ~@Jen423
  • you look down your nose at the folk out running in cotton t-shirts. ~ @Lochrie
  • you see runners when you are driving and feel compelled to shout to them that you are also a runner. ~@eobeara
  • the first item on your hurricane evacuation list is a long run. :) ~@Gemini_Runner
  • you find bodyglide in your purse and don't question it. ~@rshill37
  • you quietly judge people taking leisurely bike rides as they pass you while you are running. ~Nicole
  • snot rockets are totally acceptable during a run. ~@acokertx
  • you get excited to see a bruised toenail (true story from last night) ~@DubyaWife
  • you have more running clothes than regular clothes in the laundry pile. ~@DubyaWife
  • you spend more time looking 4 run routes than other stuff when traveling 2 a new place. ~@DubyaWife
  • you hear PR and you think "personal record", not "public relations" ~@DubyaWifeyou
  • your holiday wish list includes nothing but running gear. ~@DubyaWife
  • your runs take longer than your commute to work! ~@DubyaWife
  • you get jealous when you're driving in your car and pass runners. ~@DubyaWife

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


As a sufferer of knee issues (meniscus tears, IT band issues, popliteal issues, osteo-arthritis...) I've dealt with my share of running limitations. I've had orthopedists tell me I shouldn't be running. Luckily I found a GREAT one here who is an athlete himself. He is constantly surprised at the amount of running and compensation I'm able to do with the shape my knees are in (he actually asked to use my scans for teaching at LSU...yeah, they're that jacked up). But he never dissuades me. He encourages me and helps me stay on the road. He understands the need to keep the body moving and pushing one's boundaries. Physical therapy, listening to my body and ibuprofen gel have worked miracles. With this I have been able to keep at the activity I have grown to love and depend on: running.

Although I have chronic aches and pains (what runner doesn't?) I push through them. I ice. I stretch. I rest. I run. I have never felt "limited". If my body wouldn't cooperate I would compensate, adjust and keep on moving - keep on pushing. With this pregnancy this is the first time that I have truly felt limited. I have to be more in tune with my body and Baby Z's little developing body now. This has been a real mental struggle for me. I struggle with the issues of feeling less worthy, less committed, less of a runner if I don't fit in at least 30 miles a week, if I don't push my runs to the brink, if I don't have several races on the horizon.

I have had a super smooth pregnancy so far. I'm healthy. Baby Z is healthy. I'm fortunate that I'm able to move at all. But I feel like I'm getting sidelined more and more. Heartburn, fatigue, round ligament pain, bladder pressure, the heat....they all have been run killers lately. When I found out I was pregnant I vowed to keep running, so long as my doctor cleared me. I was able to keep my mileage up and even train for and run a half marathon well into my second trimester. As I approached my third trimester my runs became less and less frequent. And now at 33 weeks I just feel blah: slow, flabby and blah. I feel all the past years of running progress and training slipping away from me. I feel limited.

This became even more evident when I couldn't participate in the New Orleans Red Dress Run this weekend. After chatting with Katie (of KatieRUNSthis) on my way downtown she advised against participating. It was hot. The crowd was huge and drunk. Not really a good place for a pregnant lady. So, I opted out, turned around and drove back to the house, again feeling limited. Only good thing is I have a fabulous red outfit for my next half.

I have to take a step back though and realize how unlimited my body really is though. I am producing billions of cells a second and I actually feel great while doing it. I am able to move. I am able to smile. I am able to breath. I am able to create life. I am blessed. Instead of being a running brat I'm trying to readjust my attitude and be thankful for and recognize the things where God has shown me that I am truly unlimited.

Yes, my running career will have to basically start over, but look at who I get to start it over with...Baby Z! What a great prize.

So from here on out I plan to focus on the positive:
  • Starting over and starting fresh means I can concentrate on my running form more and practice on my mid/fore-foot strike.
  • Recovery running will help me melt away the post-baby lbs.
  • Yes it will be tough, but I gain a greater satisfaction from a difficult job well done than one that comes easy.
  • It will be fun to see my huge race PRs from races immediately post-baby to future ones as I am getting back into pre-baby shape.
  • I already have 3 post baby races lined up. Great motivation!
  • I already have a great race outfit! (see above pic) :)
Although I may be somewhat limited right now, my plans for the future and positive outlook can make me limitLESS.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

...But you're so tiny!!

This will be somewhat of a blog rant. This has been festering in me for a while now so if you do not want to be subjected to the rants of a crazy, hormonal pregnant lady please stop reading now.

I am pregnant. I am over 31 weeks along. No, I am not HUGE. YES, I am healthy!!

One of the first things people say to me when I tell them how far along I am is "But you're so tiny!" I have heard it over and over and over and the point where I am now self conscious about it. I have even gone so far as to ask my OB/GYN on SEVERAL occasions whether everything is on track for me and Baby Z. I am healthy, have gained a healthy amount of weight and Baby Z is exactly in the 50% for his age. Perfect! Right where he should be. In addition, I am one of my doctor's most trouble free patients. I have been blessed with an easy and healthy pregnancy.

The problem is, after the "tiny" comment I often get "the Look". The one where they size me up and down and you can see the thoughts forming in their heads. Yes, I eat. In fact I eat a LOT. Ask my husband or anyone who follows me on Twitter. I'm eating constantly. But I also exercise. I walk, I swim, I hit the elliptical, I run, I play with my dogs. I also watch what I put into my word hole. I try and make healthy choices but by no means restrict what I can have. If I want ice cream, I eat ice cream. In fact I've been craving ginger ale floats like crazy lately. I don't drink sodas. I haven't regularly drank them in years! But, since I'm craving them I listen to my body and give moderation.

My friend Katie's blog post on mommyrexia really got my blood pumping too. She said that the Today show implied that running moms are mommyrexic. That. Is. Ludicrous!! I completely agree with Katie in that most running moms that I've had the privilege to know and associate with are also some of the most healthy people I know. The benefits of exercise throughout pregnancy are huge and documented over and over. An active pregnancy can equal less complications, less stress, less fluid retention, better rest and easier labor and delivery. All of this means happy momma and happy baby. If you are medically cleared to exercise through pregnancy, then by all means, get your booty moving! It does NOT mean that you are mommyrexic.

Being an AMA preggo (*gasp* Advanced Maternal Age) I was worried about how I would be able to physically handle pregnancy. My OB was even worried at first. I was considered high risk early on, but have blown every test out of the water. My doctor now calls me his "easy patient". I truly believe that my exercise habits and active lifestyle are major reasons I've had such a great pregnancy.

So before you judge a pregnant woman by what you perceive her size should be, just remember that ALL pregnancies are different. All women are different. But the one thing we have in common is we really don't want to hear your opinion.

P.S.: HUGE shout out to For Two Fitness for the AMAZING pregnancy running tank. This thing fits like a glove, is SO comfy, doesn't chafe and is cute as a button!! Definitely a must have for active moms-to-be. Check them out here!