Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Return of Resolutions

I haven't made any resolutions for the past few years.  Frankly, it's because I knew that I would gravitate toward my old/typical behaviors and then have to justify them.  But I guess there is nothing wrong with that, and I should just be kind to myself while still looking toward the future.  Better to try than not!

I have high hopes for 2016, mostly because 2015 was basically titled "The Year I Did Not Sleep," and with any luck, things can only improve.  (Right??!) 

2016 Resolutions (Goals?)

1. Give more compliments

I feel this requires no explanation -- makes everyone happier, the world a more positive place.  Positivity sounds cheezy, but in a world full of otherwise, it is needed.  I suck at this, so any conscious effort will be quantifiable -- for now, I will arbitrarily target 5 per week.

2. Complete a round of Focus T-25

This is a stretch-goal that I debated putting on here.  I bought these DVDs two years ago and have tried to complete the program two distinct times, only to stop in the first two weeks.  As it stands, I have trouble committing to anything that requires full weekday participation!  A few months back, I did a 30-Day Squat Challenge and am currently finishing up another one (entry to come later!), but this is another level for some reason.

3. Clean out my closet/overhaul wardrobe

Maybe this isn't "resolution"-worthy, but I am hoping that tackling this will result in me dressing better in the upcoming year.  There are quite a few things that don't really fit well, and maybe it's because they didn't fit well before I had a baby.  Outside of that, I only wear a small percentage of stuff I've been saving for waaaaay too long and need to purge... not good when you share a small closet with your husband.  I think I need to get rid of/replace about 25%.

4. Donate blood

I almost did this last month, since I knew the pressure of producing milk was definitely on the decline with Baby Tuesday reaching a year old.  However, the time change and teething caused a period of pretty awful exhaustion, so I tabled it.  I'm going to guess this will be something for later in the year.

5. Read a book (or more) per month

Mark Zuckerberg (who read a book a week, something I only might have been able to do pre-baby) I am not.  I definitely read more than 12 books this past year, though I'm terrible at keeping track.  For 2016, I want to be realistic and just keep reading.  I have been struggling with the cadence due to work and staying on top of Overdrive, so I'm giving myself permission to make more purchases of the books I really want to read. 

Edit: I am going to attempt to study for a certification in 2016, so I'm going to "allow" the study materials to count as one of the books

6. Weight

Yep, this one made it on here, even though I don't foresee a lot of extra time opening up toward this purpose, but I'm up for the challenge.  I'm aiming to lose those last 5-ish pregnancy pounds (I somehow lost a few pounds in the month prior to this, probably due to a sudden drop in appetite I didn't expect), which I'm hoping will not be as hard as it seems when (hopefully!) I have more energy and the baby-feeding situation changes.  On that, I don't have a timetable for complete weaning, as since we passed the 1-year mark, there have been periods of thinking it will happen and then not, so I'm mostly just going with the flow.  Honestly, I don't think this impacts my efforts much, less so than, say avoiding muffins, general overeating, and staying consistent with exercise even if I can't spend a lot of time on it.

7. Focus on relationship with husband

I think I only have one photo with just us two from 2015.  Now, I admit I am not the best at documenting stuff, but that is kind of... telling.  "The Ukrainian" and I went on maybe four dates the entire first year, which were mostly rushed lunches while I was working from home.  Frankly, I have been too sleepy to actually enjoy being out.  We try to keep each other updated on life (mostly work, blah) at home while we are with the baby, but it is usually very much out of focus.  In addition, with things as crazy (and hormonal) as they have been, I have not always been the best to be around, particularly to him.  I am hoping things get easier, and I will be more pleasant -- mostly!  It is easy to get wrapped up with the baby, but we need to role model a good relationship, too!  So that means... more fun and getting my camera ready!

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So I do realize that running did not get mentioned in these.  I don't expect there won't be running, though at the moment, I don't have a measureable goal for it.  I definitely want to get back out there in some capacity, though!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

My Lonely Home Gym

When we first moved into our house, one thing I learned pretty quickly was that plyometric/high-impact just wasn't going to fly.  As you might know, I've mostly been a home exerciser because I didn't have a gym membership for two years.  We used to live in a carpeted apartment above someone who was rarely there, so we were able to do whatever we wanted without complaint.  Suddenly, I was unable to jump without creaking the entire place, which I was certain was not a good thing.  Also, talk about a lack of shock-absorption!

It took over two years for me to start a home gym outside of our living room.  The impetus for this was not just having a baby but having a commute that eats up a lot of the old workout time I used to have.  I didn't work out consistently until six months later when I finally joined a gym that is super close to work and resorted (still do) to quickie lunchtime workouts.  Still, when I was working out more on the weekend or working from home, a home gym seemed like a better solution.  "The Ukrainian" also has a gym membership, but is at his work (so no weekends/holidays) and sometimes it is just easier to have something here for when he can't make it.

I long decided that I didn't have the parking skills needed to use our garage for parking, so with a little clean up, we managed to fit...

  • a bicycle trainer (I got this one)... bikes were existing
  • cyclometer (basically a little meter to tell you how "far" you've pedaled -- I haven't been able to get this to work yet (pending)... so I just bike for time for now
  • our old TV after we had a better one handed down to us
  • a mat that I had previously used indoors (from Sport Chalet); it doesn't slip on concrete!
  • a large storage bin for all the miscellaneous stuff I have accumulated over the years -- resistance bands, kettlebells, jump ropes, etc. 
  • a fan for hot days
  • a sunshade (unloaded from our old neighbors when they moved) that hangs outside of the garage that we can lower if the sun is shining in
  • wet wipes!
  • weight bench that was "The Ukrainian"'s when he was a teenager... still has some life left in it! 
  • a medicine ball (purchased recently)...
... and we've called it a day for now.  We actually did this back in the summer... it's taken this long for me to write about it.

It'll do!


Admittedly, I am not in here a lot these days, and I'm hoping that writing this post will inspire me to get back in there and maybe work on it more.  I have been hanging onto the "exercise wagon" by a thread after I started feeling burnt out in September (just three months after I was really getting semi-serious about exercising again!).  By this, I mean that I don't always get my 5 workouts a week in... which is no good if I'm usually only topping out at 30 minutes per workout.  Work and low energy (sleep is still precarious around here) are my excuses... so although I used to utilize naptime for workouts, I finally just decided I'd actually nap during his naptimes just like all the "advice" says.  So I stopped working out on the weekends altogether, using the "oh, I'll walk the baby to the park instead" or "I'll just do some Pilates while the baby is playing around me" excuse that doesn't always pan out.  More to come.


Please excuse the garage-ness (and blurriness) of this photo.

As for future modifications, I know I have a random radio and old iPod speakers somewhere... so if I find it, maybe I can put on some music to get me motivated!  I guess my phone would work, too.  An elliptical trainer would be nice, but after going to some local stores, I decided to wait and see whether I can commit to a home gym before making that kind of upgrade.  And who knows... maybe a home-made ballet barre?!  Also, when the baby is older, maybe we can have a little sports center nearby, too???

The good news is that this "home gym" is there whenever I'm ready.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Things I've Tried That Might be Great Holiday Gifts

When you aren't constantly going to a bunch of race expos or reading running magazines anymore, it's hard to tell what's new in the world of "gear." 

Then, when you obtain said-gear, it takes a while to test because it's not like I'm running very much lately.  In fact, prior to this week, I hadn't really run in over a month.  Then, I ran twice in a week out of the blue.  I'm hoping I will keep at it.

Meanwhile, here are some fitness-inspired items that might spark some holiday gift ideas!

Milestone Pod


The testing of this thing has been pretty slow due to a lack of running, but I strung this onto my new shoes and love that it is basically counting the miles for me!  I used to be more paranoid about tracking the mileage on my shoes as an indicator of when to change them because I injured easily.  This also syncs with your phone via an app, though I was more interested in a simple mileage count than anything else.  When I tap the screen, it shows me the number of miles, which seems to be pretty accurate so far!

 
SaltStick FastChews

I have had major cramping issues in the past that have ruined many a marathon, and SaltStick tablets were part of my plan of attack on them.  However, I've fumbled with the pills and have had them break/dissolve on me during races.  Now they make a chew form that comes in a foil packet that doesn't break down as easily.  These have flavors so that you're not just eating salt -- it kind of tastes like an energy drink!



BeetsBlu Heart Rate Monitor and Key Finder
 



I tried out these Bluetooth products and was never able to get the HR Monitor to sync.  I've mostly given up on HR monitors because I hate having something wet and strapped to my chest, and wrist kinds are inaccurate.  This one, no matter what I did, didn't sync on my app, and I'm still working that out as I type.  However, the key finder connected very easily.  I am usually pretty good about keeping my keys in the same place, so I'm still trying to decide what to adhere this to.  It basically will sound an alarm from the attached device.

BackJoy SitSmart Plus, SleepSound Pillow and Trigger Point Massager

I really like BackJoy stuff!  I am constantly battling posture issues since I had my son (due to fatigue, holding, hunkering down at the office, etc.), so these items -- posture seat, self-massager, and pillow, have been great objects to use.  The self-massager really gets at your back without having to ask someone for a massage or laying on tennis balls on the floor.  I've been using the pillow, which has a posture-friendly shape and has a firmness comparable to an expensive pillow that I got a few years ago.  






Between December 1-24th, anyone who uses #GiveBackJoy hashtag and shares how they are giving back this holiday season will be entered to win a sweet prize pack of self-care products from BackJoy.


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FTC Disclaimer: I was sent samples of these products but was not otherwise compensated to write positive things about them!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Standing at my Desk?

I randomly received the infographic below via e-mail.

I have blogged about being active while working before, though I no longer work here and things are too crazy at my current job to follow my stretch reminders that I used to set at my other old workplace.

Nowadays, I am a little less sedentary at my desk than I used to be, mostly because I'm running off to pump (hopefully not for that much longer, though!), go to the gym, get water, etc.  I used to have days (pre-baby) when I would literally not move (or thereabouts) at my desk from 8-4 straight.  I figured, I got my morning workout in... so I'm good!

But am I??

Sure, this is a promotion for a standing desk company, but I'm sure there's a lot of truth to this.  Now, if standing at my desk for half of the workday could get me even close to this 11-marathon per year figure, I could get in better shape.


I have a co-worker who kind of made her desk a makeshift standing office by putting her laptop up high.  Maybe I'll come up with something??  I work in a very analytical position, so I'd have to be good at spreadsheet-ing it while standing.

More to come!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Happy Birthday, My Baby

What a year it has been!

A year ago, I had the most dazed and pukey day of my life, but hearing "The Ukrainian" tell me that we had a son and meeting the little guy for the first time are still very clear in my mind.

I will admit, most of the year has been a blur.  There was a lot of nursing/pumping, playing on the floor with the baby, waking up at night, anxiety, and washing... I'm pretty sure the lack of sleep messed with my sense of time.

Can/will single-handedly drink this whole thing.

I made sure, though, to commit everything I could to memory -- the feeling of his tiny grabby hand, his babbles, and even the many times I spent checking his hair curl for cradle cap.  All of the changes he has gone through this year have been nothing short of amazing.  He understands some things, throws balls when asked, reacts with great joy or discontent based on which book I've chosen for his bedtime story, stacks blocks, and says some words.  It's hardly believable that he was a little helpless newborn not that long ago.

I'm tired of taking these "month" photos, Mahh-mayyy!!!

Baby Tuesday has been in our lives for a year, and he has already given me so much.  I look forward to all the fun milestones ahead.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Week 50 (Postpartum) Update

Although I never filled out the week-by-week pregnancy surveys that I've seen on (many) blogs, I thought it would be fun to do one now.

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How far along? 50 weeks (close to 1 year) postpartum... is that too long to be considered "postpartum"???

Total weight gain/loss: +8 lbs (from average pre-pregnancy) -- yes, I'm actually going to post pics even though the only other points of comparison was when I got temporarily pretty fit after a disciplined round or two of Insanity.

Basically, I now have an extra layer of padding everywhere, especially in the middle.  Just being matter-of-factly here.  I didn't have much "body confidence" before having a baby because I wasn't at my goal, either.  Now, though, I can step back and just state things with fewer feelings involved (although keep reading below).



Maternity clothes? No, back in my old clothes, mostly, though some cause more muffin top than I'd like, and sometimes it looks like I'm ~4 months along with the next one (though I guess that sometimes happened pre-baby, too). -___-  In particular, tucking in buttoned shirts is just something I don't really try right now because they really just pop right out more than before.  Also, the chest/upper body area causes the buttoning to not work very well, and I'm not even large in that department.  I think I really just need a new work wardrobe but lack time/confidence to actually try stuff on.

Sleep: The longest stretch I've had in the past year is 6 1/2 hours, once.  On average, I get about 4-5 in a row before a wakeup, then about 1-2 more hours of broken sleep.  Once or twice a week, there will be a "zinger," which means 3-5 wakeups. This is a vast improvement from before, though!  Morning coffee (and I no longer discriminate as much as I used to) has become important.  I try to take one nap per weekend, though sometimes it turns out to be 15 minutes... and when it's not, it FEELS like 15 minutes.  I greatly underestimated the length of time I'd be sleep-deprived.

Best moment this week: We took him to Souplantation (one of my favorite places to eat), and he ate most of his meal unassisted.  We left a nice tip for the mess.

Movement: Cruising (walking while holding onto furniture or any other object possible, like the Bumbo.  He inherited one after he learned to sit on his own, and just as I was about to get rid of it, he decided it was a great toy.



Food cravings: Coffee, chocolate, kale, whipped cream cheese, soups, pretzel buns... basically whatever I can acquire easily

Anything making you queasy or sick: A lack of sleep and certain diapers!

Leakage: No, this happened in the very early days, mostly in the middle of the night (who knows why since I was up often), but who knows what the future has in store...

Belly Button in or out? In, deeper than it used to be, and although it's gotten much fainter, I still have that dark line running below it and a lovely pink/red 5+inch scar perpendicular to it.

Wedding rings on or off? My bigger ring (engagement) fits snugly, so I don't really wear it.  Wedding ring is tiiiiight, so I've pretty much given up on rings.  I think part of me is holding out that I'll fit them after weaning, but probably not.

Happy or Moody most of the time: Definitely more happy than moody now, though I'd say this has been a tug-of-war this year.  This having an infant thing is hard, and I struggle with feelings of guilt, restriction, longing, etc. all the time.  As he's getting older and more interactive (i.e., less crying), it does lighten the mood a lot.

Weekly Wisdom: A part of me is embarrassed that I, as someone who is supposedly health-conscious, am still hanging on to extra weight after all this time, even though I probably shouldn't feel that way.  As much as I want to be "normal" again, I understand that having a baby has possibly changed me forever in ways that may not be "fixable," especially at this current point in time.  Although it's hard for me to process most days due to years of conditioning and the media, health should be my real focus so that I can be a parent to my child, who is currently the focus of most of my bandwidth, which is okay and expected.  Hopefully, everything else falls into place someday.

Milestones: I have found a way to exercise with the baby around.  Sometimes, I will do videos with the baby there, which cuts out some of my excuses to be inactive.  It's normally just Pilates or body weight work, and I definitely get interrupted 15438580 times, but I'm secretly hoping that the baby will start imitating me someday for a good laugh. 

I'm also finally feeling like I'm getting some of my core strength back after being strettttched and sliced open, though I have a long way to go.  In particular, I find laying on my front (for lower back exercises and things like that) uncomfortable because my lower ab area feels like it has little to no muscle tone.  That means more core work for me!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Lately

I've been a little bit MIA lately, partly because I haven't been feeling particularly athletic lately and partly because my hands are pretty full right now. 

A combination of exhaustion and physical pains from carrying a 21+lb baby around has sidelined me from running and other high-impact workouts for the past couple of weeks.  I feel like I got carpal tunnel syndrome in both wrists and one of my ankles, plus I've had a temperamental knee so running isn't very fun right now.  Overall, I've just been feeling pretty beat-up.

Instead, I've been doing more barre-type workouts, walking, and Pilates, mostly from DVDs or YouTube videos.  I even started doing occasional group exercise classes, which I have not really done before.  As the weather is (finally!!!!) cooling down a bit, though, I hope that will motivate me to try to run more... and maybe I'll feel like I have something to write about in this running blog again.


As a result of not feeling up to blogging, I'm a bit behind in reviews, but I am going to play catch-up since the holidays are coming (!) and I feel like reviews need to be done.  I received a huge box from Perfect Bar recently that contained a cute insulated bag and a variety of their bars.




I've had a few of their bars before.  They are distinguishable from other bars in that they are found in the refrigerated section at the store.  They are not chalky like other bars and are full of whole foods like eggs and seeds.  I've been trying to mind my nutrition more lately to try to get over my beat-up feeling, so these are, well, perfect.
 
I typically associated them with high-calorie peanut flavors, but as you can see from the box, they have lots of other flavors as well.  The one below is Almond Acai.  It was not heavy and was only 200 calories!  I go the extra mile and freeze them because I tend to freeze everything.  I don't think I'd recommend eating these frozen without letting them thaw a bit, though, as they can get a bit rock-solid.
 
Also, I gotta say... I'm typically not a huge fan of the taste of straight-up honey, which these bars definitely do have... but it actually is pleasant in these bars. 

 
 
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FTC Disclaimer: I was sent a sample of Perfect Bar but was otherwise not compensated to provide a positive review.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Nine Years Old

I almost forgot about my blog being around for nine years.  Luckily, a reminder popped up on my calendar somehow.  I must have put it in years ago.

It's no secret that this year has been challenging to say the least, and probably not very productive on the fitness front.  I've still got around 10 pounds of extra weight to carry and never did get to that 30th half-marathon I had anticipated doing.

I think this upcoming year will be about finding more balance and enjoying "the ride" more.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A Blur (and Baby Food)

It has been a while since my last post, probably because not much has been happening since then. 

Everything moves very quickly from day-to-day, and I admit I have not been as attentive to those details as I should be in my constant half-alert state.

In recent times, I've been in a workout slump.  I have been pretty good about keeping up frequency (4-5 times a week), though they are pretty short bouts.  I was going at a pretty high intensity for a while, but I ramped it down a little due to burnout.  So there has been a lot of elliptical-ing in front of The Chew, and when I do get that run to Insanity workout in, I feel it the next day.

I've taken up daily tea/coffee.  It started out as a terrible (light) frappuccino ritual to reward myself for fighting traffic in my sleepy stupor, but in an effort to take better care of myself, it is now plain lattes or green smoothies.  I've also been doing a slightly better job at sticking to salads or homemade stuff over other indulgences.  I figure any little things will help me feel better.

We also got a toaster oven, which has been helpful during this lonnnnng summer when I want to roast stuff for both the adults and the little one.  I only make a portion of the food that Baby Tuesday eats (if you don't count milk...) and fully admit that the organic baby food companies do the rest.  It's not really a lot of work, but for some reason, it takes a long time.  I was buying organic stuff, peeling, washing, steaming, and puree-ing.  Then, I started cooking mashed stuff with couscous and all... but roasting has been great because I can pretty much just scoop straight from the vegetable and mix it with rice sometimes. 

He plays with cans in the kitchen.

At almost 11 months, I've been able to offer a bigger variety of foods, and he's generally able to self-feed everything except the gloppy stuff.  We did work on using a spoon, and he was doing well with it for a while, but then he started tossing it all the time and I quit.  He loves pita bread hummus sandwiches (only tomato hummus) ripped into small pieces, shredded cheese, egg yolks, and these little melty things that I started making when I got tired of buying those yogurt things in the stores. These are made out of coconut butter and whatever I feel like puree-ing (berries, squashes, etc.), mostly because he won't eat avocados or actual yogurt, plus I love having jars of coconut butter around.

 

I bought a piping bag after this...

Now that I've been spending slightly more time in the kitchen, I do realize how much I missed it and hope that I will have more opportunities as the baby grows and the weather cools (because let's face it... I'm an oven person).

To end this random post, I wanted to mention that I tried this pumpkin Quest Bar that I saw as I was walking by the GNC that's very close to my work.  I was surprised by the color of the bar and was turned off by the little pieces that fell everywhere, but overall, I liked it.  It has a sweet coating and decent interior that is reminiscent of Fall.

 

Monday, September 28, 2015

YMCA Stair Climb 2015

EVENT: YMCA Stair Climb
DATE: Friday, September 25, 2015
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
RACE BEGAN: 3:30 pm
FINISH TIME: 18:15

I did this event two years ago and was super bummed last year when I had to sit it out due to being eight months pregnant.  Then, I switched employers earlier this year, so I thought I was pretty much done climbing stairs forever.

Later, I learned that my new company not only participates, but it also provides a large donation and needed someone to manage all that stuff... someone in Human Resources (gah!)... and it somehow landed in my lap.  Soon, I had budgets to manage and 52 children to guide through the team formation, registration, and packet pick-up process.  Let me tell you, it is WAY more fun to be a participant than a coordinator. ;)

Given that I am in no way as fit as I was two years ago when I did this (*ahem, pregnancy, surgical birth, and being chained to my baby*), I started incorporating stair-climbing into my weekly regimen.  Once a week starting mid-July or so, I'd go on the stair-mill for 20 minutes, where it would register 100+ floors.  No, I did not practice in the actual stairwell at work, though I probably should have but I didn't find time/the will to sweat in my work clothes.  Plus, let's face it -- it's pretty lonely and dull practicing alone, especially when stairs are not my friend normally.  It definitely felt easier as I continued to practice, though.

The day of the climb, I had to run around coordinating packets, the booth that we had set up, and a work deadline.  It had also been a rough night on the sleeping front, and I am pretty sure I woke up five times.  So by the time our climb time arrived, I was already pretty spent, in addition to the fact that we were in the middle of yet another heat wave... and stairwells are not exactly known to have good A/C.

I went in with my team (single-file), and I tried my best to keep a rapid, yet steady pace.  I think the "rapid" part of the plan died out around the 20th floor, so I just told myself that I had to keep moving and not take a break, lest I lose any momentum I had.  I remember how dry my throat was last time (to the point where I could taste blood), so I made sure to take water pretty much every time it was offered to me.  The heat didn't really bother me until the 50th floor or so, but by then, I knew the end was somewhat near (funny how relative things get).  My sweaty end-of-climb mugshot is above.

I didn't know of my time until I got back to work, and compared to the 17:46 I got last time, I wasn't too dissatisfied with my performance (a 29-second difference, if I can do math correctly).  That seems to be consistent with my 5K time back in July -- sort of good, just not as good as before, haha!  I'm pretty proud of the fact that I had a faster time than this guy at work who tried to intimidate us, though!

As for the aftermath, my back has been sore for a couple of days, so I'm sure the effort was more taxing than it seemed at the time.  I did have to rely on hanging onto the actual stair railing more this time than last, so I probably was dogging my posture -- not to mention, the first thing I did when I got to a clear area was to thoroughly wash my hands -- ugh!

Would I do this again?  I am not sure.  I much more enjoy running than stair-climbing, and if I have to coordinate this event again next year, I am not sure that I would also climb.  I know I can improve on my time, though, so maybe that motivation might be enough.

Because of all the festivities, Baby Tuesday had to spend an extra-long day at his grandparents', though I don't think he minded too much.  We more-or-less made it back in time for the bedtime.  He knew it was bathtime and crawled right onto the changing mat on the bathroom floor.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Mind Over Matter

If there is ever a time in my life when I finally get to sleep like a normal person, let me look back on this time and draw strength from it.

Must stop obsessing over numbers -- total hours slept, consecutive hours slept, number of wake-ups, days/months/year (and a half, counting pregnancy) without the eight-hour standard...

I'm pretty sure life is pretty sunny and bright when you're not in a constant mental fog, driving sleepy, recurring headache, and summer-like temperatures all day, every day.

So the next time I'm on Mile 22, or Mile 12.1 or when it's a little to warm for my liking to run, I must look back.  There is worse.

I'd like to race again.  I'd like to donate blood again.  I'd like to not feel like I'm about to collapse by the time I get home from work everyday.  While I'm at it, the great plight of being a working mom is that just when you need a break/vacation the most, you don't have the hours, since maternity leave pretty much eats it all.  Add in being dumb and accepting a new job/starting over, and you've got an equation for a burnout like I've never experienced before.  Working full-time while obtaining a Ph.D. does not even compare.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have 1,664 steps to climb today.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Review: Extend Nutrition Anytime Bars

I had to laugh after I was asked to review these bars, as unlike many of the bars I've reviewed on here, these are more marketed toward diabetics.  I'm guessing this happened because I wrote a post on diabetes last month.

However, I love trying bars of all kinds, so down the hatch they went.  I mean, if non-diabetics find these palatable, that's the true tastiness test right there.  As a plus, these claim to be gluten-free.

Extend Nutrition sent me samples of their Anytime Bar.  Since I had a couple of each flavor, I decided to give some to my diabetic co-worker who normally supplies me with cookies to try.  I had to laugh again when we started chatting about bars, sugar-free things, and intestinal upset.  Thankfully, these did not cause that (your mileage may vary, though)!


Here is a brief review of some of the bars:

  • Cookies N Crème: Not bad, reminiscent of the flavor as other brands. 
  • Caramel: My co-worked really liked this one.
  • Yogurt Berry (pictured below): Nice yogurt exterior, not too sweet.
  • Mixed Berry: Rice puff texture, I prefer the Yogurt berry because I like having the creaminess.  This one is a bit more dry.

Overall, these are pretty tasty nutrition bars, and the main gripe that my co-worker and I have about them is they are a bit smaller than other bars.

 

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FTC Disclaimer: I was sent samples of Extend Nutrition bars and was not otherwise compensated to provide a positive review.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Flopping

So forget what I said about being excited about September...

For one thing, it is still SO HOT around here.  I think I complain about the heat every year until November, so I should be used to this by now.  Yesterday, it stayed a warm 92 in the house until the AC cycled back on at 8 PM.  I'm not sure how saving some electricity is worth me sweating to death, but oh well.  I remember swimming at my parents' house over the weekend thinking that this could be *it* for swimming this year, but maybe summer just isn't over yet.

Also, while I'm not a fan of the whole pumpkin spice latte thing (Gingerbread is more of my taste), I did indulge on the first day it became available after a particularly fragmented night's sleep.  And... it was not good.  Pumpkin spice muffin the next day... not good.  I'm pretty sure I'm over my pumpkin obsession??

I've hit a slump and am not excited about working out these days, maybe because of fatigue.  I keep eyeing a half-marathon in December, but I can't bring myself to pull the trigger because I don't know if time or energy is in the cards... and paying X dollars against those chances sound terrible.

On another note, I used this cool aggregate website, ShoeKicker, to finally get a new pair of running shoes, the Saucony Stabil CS3.  The last record I have of getting new "distance" shoes on here was in 2011, though I checked my Amazon records, and my last purchase was actually in 2012.  Still, 3 years is a long time between shoes, so long that there is a new model from the CS2.

I wore these to literally run to the drug store, and I felt like I was running on CLOUDS.  And since it was close to mid-day and I was squeezing in an errand/exercise as possible, I think I pretty much felt like I was running too close to the sun a few times... but at least my feet and legs were supported.

Nathan Sports recently sent over some handheld running water bottles that probably would have helped had I not already had my hands full of my phone and vitamins.  I am using the Quickdraw Plus (right) to carry stuff in the little pouch.  The water is easily accessible, as well.  The Quickview (middle) is pretty nice because you can view your phone through it.  The Quickshot is good for racing when you just need a little to cover you between water stations.  In my mind, though, it almost looks like dad's bottle, mom's bottle, and baby's bottle!  These days, I tend to just carry a key and my phone while running, so without adding much more, I can have water, too!



Other than that, I know a lot of fun times are coming soon (Halloween, the holidays, Baby Tuesday's birthday), but it's hard to get revved up because I'm so beyond exhausted and anxious about things that I probably shouldn't be.  Pretty sure my outlook would be better with some more shut-eye. 

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FTC Disclaimer: I was provided a sample of Nathan Sports handheld running bottles and was not otherwise compensated to provide a positive review.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Excited About September

How is it September already???!

August is usually sllllooooow for me because of the endless heat, lack of days off/holidays, and I'm usually not traveling anywhere.  Some people get seasonal affective disorder (SAD) during the winter, but mine usually hits in the summer.

Still, when you've got this little guy crawling around everywhere, I can see how the days would go by so quickly.  I recently decided to get him a little self-feeder (this one is KidsMe) because he's taken interest in eating stuff that I eat, and he hasn't figured out the hand-to-mouth thing.  It buys me some extra minutes to wash bottles, clean, and prepare food.

http://www.acaseoftheruns.com
As non-anonymous as I'm letting him be for now...

Speaking of preparing food, I can't WAIT until this heat dies down.  Especially because we're part of the air conditioning cycling program that shuts off the AC riiiiight when the heat is the worst.  I am pretty sure this counts as a sauna visit.

I really want to turn on the oven again.  I feel like most of the cooking I do involves an oven.

Recently, I decided to start eating lactation-promoting foods again.  My freezer stash is probably going to be gone soon, I'm only pumping about 75% of what I was during my first few months back at work, and Baby Tuesday is still pretty much drinking 100% of everything in spite of all the food he eats.  He recently had his 9-month checkup, and he's just under 20 pounds (50th percentile), 80th percentile in height (so we had to switch him to a convertible car seat).  He drinks a little formula, and I suspect that will need to go up a bit even though I feel like it's juussst a few months until he can have regular milk.  Hence, these balls.



I basically threw in two cups of oats, a cup of peanut butter, a cup of honey, a cup of ground flax, and half a cup of brewer's yeast, along with a chopped-up chocolate bar, a splash of vanilla, and some toasted coconut that fell to the bottom of a coconut cashew container. 

These are from Costco, but I could have sworn there is a better version of this in San Diego Costcos...

A little coconut oil and almond milk helped get it moist enough to roll into (many) balls.  Unfortunately, I really need to get debittered brewer's yeast, because it's a little rough-tasting using the regular kind.

Now, I can't really say whether these or the tea that I drink are helping, as some days turn out better than others for no known reason.  Since my pumping output is not great anyway, I'm in the process of trying to cut down a pump session at work (by shortening the length and then shifting the times), and just going longer twice a day in addition to the before-bed session.  I definitely want to be down to one session when Baby Tuesday is one and stop pumping during the day shortly afterward, so I'm giving myself plenty of time to adjust but still hoping to give him as much as I can.  Here's hoping my (second) pump doesn't die before then.

Ooops, that was too much breastfeeding talk!  As you can tell, it dominates my life.

In fitness news, I've been pretty good about working out 4-5 times a week, and more recently, I've been able to run 4 miles instead of 3.1 on the days that I run.  I usually finish it in about 37 minutes, though if I'm running around my neighborhood, it's a bit longer due to hills and traffic lights.  I want to work up to longer distances, but at this point, I'm not sure how far.  I registered a 10K in February but don't know if I will drop to the 5k (if I am pushing the stroller) or what.

I originally wanted to run my 30th half-marathon while I am still 30 years old, but I'm not sure if that's going to happen.  A lack of local races and the unpredictability of things makes it hard to commit to something.  It won't be the end of the world if I have to wait until 31 or something...

Also, my knees have started to give me a little trouble again, and I don't know if it's just because I'm "new" again or because I haven't taken my glucosamine supplements since I got pregnant.  Running + plyo (Insanity and Insanity Max 30... review is coming soon) is not a good combo.

On September 25th, I am doing the YMCA Stair Climb again.  I've been using the stair machine at the gym once a week for about 20 minutes at a time, so that the machine registers 100+ floors (the climb is 75 floors).  It will be interesting to see how I do since I didn't really train at all last time and was just more fit to begin with, and at least it's a low-impact activity. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Omron Alvita Wireless Activity Tracker

As you know, fitness trackers are all the rage lately.  I haven't been able to commit to one for very long, mostly because I don't like wearing things on my wrist.

A while back, I reviewed the Omron Alvita Pedometer, which was a great pedometer because it was no-fuss, automatically resetting itself each day and only counting legitimate steps instead of just shakes.

I was given the chance to review a next generation of this device, the Omron Alvita Wireless Activity Tracker.  It uses similar technology but now interacts with your phone!



  • Tracks steps, aerobic steps, distance and calories burned
  • Wirelessly syncs your data to our free Omron Fitness app
  • Tap on screen for easy access to current day’s data
  • Calculates stride automatically based on height and weight input for easy set up
  • Battery saving mode turns screen off after 20 seconds of inactivity; continues tracking all activity
  • Displays current day’s activity and stores up to 14 days in memory

  • The app worked pretty well and synced easily, which is important to me because that was a deal-breaker for other stuff I've tried.  They also improved on the physical design of this device.  The older model was annoying to keep clipped on, but this one holds on much better!  It's also smaller and more... attractive?... than the older model.

    Some screenshots:



    The above was only for part of the day (I didn't wear it to the gym due to me being forgetful)!  I know I still gotta work on moving more, though!

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    FTC Disclaimer: I was sent a sample of this product to review but was not otherwise compensated for a positive review.

    Tuesday, August 25, 2015

    Diabetes

    It has taken me over a year to finally discuss this topic. 

    I debated posting something but then figured that someone might benefit from reading it at some point, as I tried to find similar posts when I was in need to them, only to find there weren't many.

    Yes, diabetes. 

    It is no secret that I (like many people) have a sweet tooth, and I've had my fair share of meals and treats with my friends and my husband that probably warrant a welcome sign for blood sugar issues.  However, I never really worried about it because,

    a) I've generally been pretty active and am of a normal weight
    b) I know of nobody in my family with blood sugar issues, and
    c) I attend health screenings like a good corporate worker and had great results each time.

    So about a year ago, I was gaping at the screen when I saw my gestational diabetes screening come back wayyyyy off the charts.  This is that test that all the "healthy living bloggers" whine about where you have to drink some sweet drink at the end of the second trimester, but I came into it just knowing I'd pass and move along, no big deal.  But I'm glad I wasn't being a know-it-all and tried to ditch it. 

    I got a call from my doctor the following business day, who was pretty much like, "Yeahhhhh... it is pointless to do a longer test."  My first reaction was, unsurprisingly, "WHY me?!"  Unlike many pregnant people, I actually ate a lot better than normal because I had a very nauseous first trimester and never quite got my usual cravings after that.  I was also still pretty active at that point.  So I kept trying to rationalize as I was sitting in a class where they played cheezy videos of pregnant women measuring out tortillas, rice, and pasta in little cups.

    This brings me to one of my first hurdles in all of this, which was getting over the stigma of diabetes.  Most folks I knew who were diabetics were Type 2 and overweight, and while I know the gestational kind is different, I couldn't help but notice there was only one other woman that was my size in the class, and the rest, well, appeared to be overweight.  Out in the world, I tried to keep quiet about my diagnosis, but inevitably there was that awkward moment when someone would push food on the pregnant lady and finally I'd have to explain that it wouldn't be a good idea.  When they'd find out, I'd get comments like, "Maybe you ate a lot of carbs in your first trimester," or "Oh, but you're always so healthy" as if something I did caused this scary condition.

    Maybe "scary" is a strong word to use, but when you're a first-time mom-to-be armed with Google, everything is scary.  My "research" told me that while I was in good company, only around 8-10% of pregnant women get this.  I should also add that only 10% of pregnancies end up with your water breaking before labor, so I guess I just hit some weird bulls-eyes. 

    A throwback! I think this was about 4-5 weeks pre-baby.

    Anyway, as I started following the food plan and testing my blood sugar four (yes, four, some days more) times a day, I started seeing that something did indeed happen when I "messed up."  My blood sugar would spike on completely random stuff like beans, but I could eat Chicago style pizza with no problems.  I ended up eating a lot of protein, and I often ate the same breakfast, lunch and dinner in controlled portions.  For a pregnant person, let me tell you, that sucked, especially when "pumpkin" season came, and I couldn't really have anything.  I also had to walk after meals when I could, which was rough sometimes, but I was lucky that I never needed to go on insulin because my doctors were okay with my logs. 

    Things I ate a lot of: nuts, nut butters, meat, cheese, Greek yogurt (only ones with a certain carb/protein ratio), low-carb bread (I could only have 1 slice, at breakfast), controlled portions of rice at dinner, vegetables, Nature Valley Protein Bars, full-fat ice cream or Cool Whip in controlled portions and paired with cheese, basically anything had to be paired with protein
     
    Things I avoided: desserts (duh) besides small bites, most Asian food (sad!), juice or any sweetened beverage (I also avoided artificial sweeteners, but that was my choice), beans (including hummus), corn, breads/wraps, fruit for the most part (and I really could have used more prunes...), potatoes over a certain portion, oatmeal, cereal, basically anything that was a normal part of my diet beforehand


    When Baby Tuesday was born, his blood sugar was perfect!  He was heavier than other babies born in my family, but I think that had more to do with all the fluid I received during my long hospital stay, since by the time we left, he was barely 7 lb.  They never bothered testing me after I was first admitted, they fed me all sorts of carb-y goodness in the hospital, and I ate 75% of an entire cake in the days that followed (mostly during the night when I was up nursing a lot).  A couple of months later, I passed all the follow-up tests and more recently, passed my corporate wellness screening with no problem. 

    I will need to do parts of the tests again once a year, so the story isn't over.  In fact, I was told that my risk of eventually becoming diabetic is something like 50% greater than the general population.  That... is scary.  Thus, I've been trying to avoid overdoing it on the sugar (working on it! -- tough when you're sleepless, though!) and staying active.  I'm not sure how this will all play into whether I cut meat out of my diet again, whether I will run long distances again, or even whether I will ever swallow a running gel again.  So more to come, for sure.

    If you are in this same boat and found this post on Google or something, here's my advice to you:

    • don't freak out
    • it's the overall numbers that matter, not one meal or even a couple
    • don't feel bad if you need medication; having too-high blood sugar is way worse
    • target blood sugar guidelines are so varied between practices, so it seems like not a lot is known about this condition
    • all those needle stick marks did eventually disappear from my fingers (use the sides to test) -- also, the first few tests suck, but then you get used to it
    • Babycenter, for all the weirdos on there, was a good portal of information
    • people will say a lot of dumb things, but as far as I was able to research, this is caused by a poor interaction between the pancreas and the placenta blocking stuff, so in other words, not your fault at all
    • if you're a first-time mom-to-be, consider this the first of many things that will be out of your control in your motherhood journey -- a co-worker who had to do lovenox injections during her pregnancy shared this with me when I confided in her, and it really helped me cope

    Tuesday, August 18, 2015

    Thoughts

    It has been a while since my last update.  Free time is such a luxury these days, and I'm pretty sure I will never complain about being bored again.

    First, there's work.  I started a new job a few months ago, and although I really, really wanted to find something that would cut my commute, I'll just take what I can get for now.  There's a definite learning curve, and it can get kind of consuming sometimes, not ideal for a [very tired] new mom who is still waiting to sleep a full night (or close?) after a year of pregnancy and baby wake-ups.

    While I'm on the "mom" topic, Baby Tuesday is NINE months old (cue the feels!).  He has been crawling (on his belly) everywhere and pulling up to stand.  No longer is it possible to watch TV while he lays or plays quietly, which makes binge-watching on Netflix kind of impossible.



    A couple of weeks ago, I was slammed by a stomach bug, and afterward, I was only pumping half of what the little guy takes in while I'm at work.  I thought I was okay with this, but then I imagined having to mix a bottle every time I'd normally just nurse him, and I don't even know how that would work!  So I've been back to oats and flax and teas and cookies and all the stuff I was eating in the early days.  I have no idea how long I'll keep at it, but let's just say I look forward to when he can have regular milk.  I keep hearing about a "PPD2" that comes with weaning, which makes me want to nurse him until he's 5.  Okay, so that's extreme, but mannn, I don't know if I can handle another hormone crash.  When the time comes, maybe I'll just start running a lot to see if that helps counteract it.

    On that note, I am so thankful to have been able to keep up a fitness routine.  It's the only thing that keeps me sane these days, and it's only possible due to a gym being right near my work and sneaking in stuff on the weekends during naps.  After some bidding wars on eBay, I got the Ogio X Fit bag because my temporary cheap bags that I took to the gym literally fell apart. 

    It has a few features that really drew me to it:

    - hard zippered pocket on the top (I store my work badge and phone in there)
    - ventilated separate shoe compartment
    - towel/mat holder on side (to roll up my towel)
    - outside front zipper pocket (for toiletries)
    - a sternum strap and random places on the outside that I could use for things like this D-clip that I use for my lock and headband

    It pretty much fits the bill in terms of storing what I need, and I love that I can roll my towel up on the side and have a separate shoe compartment -- all while taking care of my back.  Once the shoes are in there, the main compartment doesn't have that much room, but it is just enough for a few pieces of clothing.  There is an area for a tablet, which I use to store underthings and dry shampoo, two smaller mesh pockets where I store my iPod and face wipes, and then the rest is one big compartment where my actual gym clothes go.





    I'm hoping to do a 10K or half-marathon by the end of the year, but I'm having trouble finding one that doesn't require a long drive or waking up supremely early.  I've become pretty accustomed to running 3 miles at a time, which is mostly what I have time for right now, but I think I am fit enough to do more (thanks, Insanity!).  The baby seems to be nearly strong enough to ride in the jogging stroller now, but I think I'm going to have to work up to that and figure out scheduling and stuff.


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    FTC Disclaimer: I purchased the Ogio bag on my own and was not compensated to provide a positive review.

    Tuesday, July 28, 2015

    Progress

    July has been going well, fitness-wise.

    Late in May, I joined a gym and started working out at lunch.  My goal was to work out three or four days a week and be "active" on at least one other day.  Most weeks, I get in my three, sometimes four.  They don't always happen at the gym or during the lunch hour.  Sometimes, if I'm not on baby-pickup duty, I will squeeze it in after work.  Once in a while, I get to work from home and do it in the morning or mid-day.  And sometimes, when the baby wakes up at an odd hour and I can't go back to sleep before I must wake for the day anyway, workouts have happened on my driveway in the dark.

    Along with trying to find balance, I've been able to try out more of the things that have come my way, as well.  I took these Tiger Lady claws on a run recently.  Pepper spray is kind of the normal thing to carry, but I'm always freaked out that I'll set if off accidentally, so these also give me some sense of security.  When you clench your first, viola -- you are now Wolverine!  The claws can help collect DNA and come in a double-pack for runners.  It takes some getting used to, but I think this could help some people.



    Also, I received this callus remover from ToiletTree Products and tried it out.  I actually don't have a lot of problems with calluses (maybe because I'm not running enough yet!), but I don't have time to take care of my feet these days, so this is a good little device for quick self-maintenance. 

     
    Finally, with more activity comes more laundry.  When both of us were to busy to work out for a while, laundry would take forever to pile up, and now, the poor washing machine is working double-time with baby clothes and our stuff.  This Febreze In-Wash Odor Eliminator (coupon here) has proven to work on our workout clothes.  We normally use detergent with Febreze already in it, but we have been using more "free" detergent for the baby and sometimes on our stuff, so this helps make up the difference. 
     
     
     
    In other news, I was finally able to take a couple of days off to vacation with my family.  It was all too short, as every other day in life is a whirlwind.  I recently learned a hard lesson in "do-it-all-ism" -- I took the little one on a play-date and somehow left guilty that I was contracting out my baby puree making to Earth's Best instead of doing it myself.  Yes, I could spend a little time on the weekend chopping, steaming, and blending, right?  So I did this a few times, but Baby Tuesday has been clingy and fighting naps (and sleep), so I ended a weekend feeling like I had no rest, which is never good when every other day is just so much.  My ability to parent is only as good as the amount of physical and mental rest I can get.
     
    Finally, with Baby Tuesday over 8 months old now, I have started worrying more and more about his first birthday festivities (whoa!).  I have a niece whose birthday is the day before his, but I decided against doing a huge joint blowout since the last thing I want is for the little guy to be dragged out and around for his birthday.  So we have decided to do something low-key at home just before Thanksgiving.  Still, I find myself looking into decorations and stuff, and considering how long it takes me to get anything done these days, I need to get going.
     
    
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    FTC Disclaimer: I was sent samples of Tiger Lady, Febreze, and ToiletTree Products and was not otherwise compensated to provide a positive review.

    Monday, July 20, 2015

    Quest Bars Redux

    Quite a while back, I had reviewed Quest Nutrition Bars and had a somewhat lukewarm response to them.  However, this was back when I would have chosen sugar over protein, and given my current goal to cut back on the sugary stuff where I can, these seemed to fit my needs and re-entered the picture.



    It started with an innocent need for food-on-the-run.  Although I've gotten better at bringing food from home to work again, I usually eat more than I bring (darn breastfeeding appetite!), so these keep me from having to buy extra food after I've spent my lunch breaks working out.  To my astonishment, I actually liked the bar and decided to try all the flavors I could find.  Luckily, GNC is really convenient to me, so with their Quest Bar promotion at the time, I was able to do just that. 

    I had to eat these over time, of course, so this post has been a while in the making, but here are some brief notes about the flavors I tried/re-tried:

    • Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough: see last review
    • Cookies & Cream: This is the one that started my "Quest quest."  I actually liked the faux-cookie bits inside.  If I have to buy a box, I'd get this flavor.
    • Double Chocolate Chunk: A very standard chocolate protein bar taste, though I did appreciate the chocolate chunks within.
    • Chocolate Brownie: Also a pretty standard chocolate protein bar taste.
    • White Chocolate Raspberry: Also has bits of stuff inside, definitely not exactly white chocolate (they are kind of crumbly), but not too bad.  I'd eat this again.
    • Cinnamon Roll Flavor: I had read some amazing reviews for this, but it wasn't really notable to me at all.  Nothing about this reminded me of cinnamon roll.
    • Chocolate Peanut Butter: see last review
    • Coconut Cashew: I read a lot of good things about this flavor, but I did not like it at all.  I think it needed more texture and didn't taste like either coconut OR cashew.
    • Strawberry Cheesecake: I liked this!  Although fruity bars don't usually sit well with me, I did like the little pieces of "cheesecake" that kind of reminds me of the cookies n cream one.
    • Apple Pie: This was pretty good, with actual pieces of spongy dried apple inside.
    • Vanilla Almond Crunch: Had bits of almond in it, kind of like almond meal, pretty good.
    • Peanut Butter Supreme: Not bad, peanut-buttery for sure.  This one has over 200 calories.
    • Banana Nut Muffin: Definitely not a muffin due to the texture, but taste-wise, it was mild and not bad.
    • Peanut Butter & Jelly: I think the allure of PB&J is mostly a texture thing, so in a sticky chewy bar form, I wasn't exactly thrilled with eating a peanut and fruit flavored bar.
    • Mixed Berry Bliss: This was nothing notable, just a fruity chewy bar, slightly medicinal.
    • Lemon Cream Pie: I'm not a fan of lemon desserts, so suffice to say this wasn't my favorite but it did have a flavor reminiscent of a lemon bar.

    Overall, there is just a small amount of "fake" taste (of proteins/sweeteners), which is a far cry from some other protein bars.  Many are sweetened with monk fruit, which is the latest *thing* when it comes to sweeteners.  For under/around 200 calories and 20-ish grams of protein per bar and very little carbs, these are definitely a good way to fuel up after a workout and makes you feel like you're eating a treat.  To me, they are easier than taking in protein powder.

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    FTC Disclaimer: I purchased these on my own and am providing an honest review.

    Monday, July 13, 2015

    Growing Up - 8 Month Check-In

    Baby Tuesday is almost 8 months old, and these past couple of months have been full of fun changes, for sure.  I feel like once he crossed the 6 month point, he suddenly became a "big boy."  As much as I sometimes miss his sleepy days, I really love watching him learn about the world.

    www.acaseoftheruns.com
     
    He's interested in everything around him, from wrappers to water bottles to my phone. *sigh*  I had to dig up an old phone and gut it of its batteries to use as a bait-n-switch for his grabby fingers.
     
    We recently washed and put away these play mats (activity gyms?), as he's no longer interested in laying down to play as much.  As he outgrows things, I try to resell them when possible because clutter kills me!  This is ironic, because I used to be the messiest kid, but sometime in my early twenties, as I moved from dorm to dorm, I learned to dislike piles and piles of stuff.  A part of me wants to hold on to stuff "just in case," but man, I can't imagine that at this point, plus everything would just sit and get old in storage.  I figure I can always shop used if I had to use this stuff again, right?
     
    www.acaseoftheruns.com

    A few weeks ago, Baby Tuesday was sick, and although I am usually not one to jump at medications, we had to pull in the "big guns" to help by using Advil, which was quite timely because a representative from Nuk/Advil sent over some Advil samples and this cute Soothasaurus teething toy.  It appears to have been a hit (both the toy and the medicine)! 

    www.acaseoftheruns.com

    I don't see any teeth yet, though he's been smiling more with his gums out, so I don't know if that's a sign.  In the meantime, he looks like a big boy playing with a dinosaur, and its soft rubbery material makes it baby-friendly.

    Here's him with another rubber thing, not-so-friendly for babies, but of course I was watching him.  This is our home gym project, which I plan on sharing later.



    As for sleep, well, that's a touch-and-go process, but we did get a nearly 5 1/2 hour stretch recently that was like a total miracle.  I'm sure we could hasten this process, but I am not good at dealing with crying, so it's been a slow (and often not linear) transition.  Along with no longer needing gloves to sleep (he was a huge night scratcher), he's also learned to find his pacifier (I admit to placing a couple in the corners of the crib), so that will probably be helpful as we eventually (!) shoot for "through the night."  But I'll take what I can get right now.  This is definitely the hardest part about this whole baby thing!

    As for me, I am feeling the strain of everything, from being ill to chronically tired to trying to keep some sort of regular fitness routine to keeping up at work while still a primary food source.  The worst part about returning to work after maternity leave (well, besides being away from baby during the day) is having little to no vacation time when you return.  That, in combination with other things, makes it hard to take a break when it is often very much needed.  I know I can only accomplish a portion of the things I might have been able to in the past, fitness or otherwise, and I hope I (and others) can accept that for now.  After all, isn't this a common experience?


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    FTC Disclaimer: I was provided samples from NUK and Infant's Advil and was not otherwise compensated to provide a positive review.  The Infants’ Advil product and information have been provided by Pfizer Consumer Healthcare.

    Monday, July 6, 2015

    Rosemead 5k - 2015

    EVENT: Rosemead 5K
    DATE: Saturday, July 4, 2015
    LOCATION: Rosemead, CA
    RACE BEGAN: 7:00 am 
    FINISH TIME: 27:55

    It had been well over a year since I really kind of run a race.  I did a couple of others last year, but they were surrounding my pregnancy, so there was a lot of run/walking going on.

    So when I realized I was really going to be doing this 5k, I made sure to condition myself to be able to run without stopping.  In the past, that was not notable, but I literally sat on my behind for three months after months of not running.

    I ran 5k distances whenever I could -- a couple of times during my maternity leave around my house, and finally, last month when I joined the gym, I tried to do it at least once a week on the treadmill.  Surprisingly, I was able to push myself on this fairly quickly, so by race day, I was confident I could do it.

    That morning, I was kicking myself because I reallllly did not want to get out of bed early.  After all these months of not getting a full night's sleep, purposefully waking up early is super rough.  Luckily, I had prepared everything the night before, so I just had to pump and get dressed.

    I wore these Lily Trotters compression socks as part of my outfit, which definitely heightened the mood.  They are a designed compression sock line that is feminine.  I could probably use some nicer shoes and a skort to match, but the little touch of fun to my running outfit definitely made the morning a bit easier.


    I decided not to run with a watch.  I did have my phone with me (in a Ziploc baggie because it has been sooo long that I could not remember where I stored my running belt), but I decided to not turn on the GPS so that I would just focus on enjoying my pseudo-re-debut into racing.  I started near the back with a friend and just kind of fell into a pace.  I kept reminding myself not to push too hard, as it was muggy, had been recently ill, and I just wanted to enjoy.

    The race shirt (and bad post-race hair):

     
     
    I felt pretty good throughout, but near the end, I could definitely feel that I had reached the point to which I had trained.  I didn't know my time until I saw the printed results, but I saw 28-something on the main clock and felt pretty good about myself.  I got my medal and found my good (and slightly politically incorrect) friend who said, "Not bad for someone who gave birth six months ago."
    
     


    I ran this race a bit harder two years ago (they didn't have it last year) about 3 minutes faster, so yes, there's a way for me to go, but I was just so happy to be there that there was no disappointment whatsoever.

    I rushed home to my baby boy.  When I walked in, he smiled and when I walked off to watch my hands, he cried because he's reached a stage where he hates seeing me walk away.  We plopped down and played per his usual. 


    I think local 5k's and 10k's are probably about all I can handle at this point, and that doesn't bother me one bit.  I'd like to run my 30th half-marathon at some point, as well, once I'm more well-rested and fitter.  For now, I'm glad to have done something from my "old life" and look forward to running with the baby in the stroller in a few months... and eventually watching him do the tot trot at some of these races, too.

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    FTC Disclaimer: I was provided a sample of Lily Trotters but was not otherwise compensated to provide a positive review.