Daycare Crud Part I, being a running mama, getting busier…

This week I got to experience the phenomena of daycare crud. Lots of friends warned me if I stuck Jasper in daycare, expect to get sick. I went to bed Tuesday completely fine, and when Jasper woke at 1am, I thought WTF?!?! My throat was on fire, my ears ached, I had a fever, every joint hurt and I had chills. I went to work the next day feeling way sub-par, and bummed the 3 day weekend might be spent sick. It was a crappy day, running fever all day. I got home took tylenol, got in bed at 7pm with Jasper, who was pretty mellow, and the next day I felt a lot better. Even better yesterday, and today I feel almost 100%. Truly a 24 hour bug. Jasper seems fine, so I am guessing I am just more prone to getting sick now since he takes every nutrient out of me (you don’t get to be 15 pounds at less than 4 months by eating light meals). Anyhow, a HUGE relief to not be sick this weekend, and I also know there is more to come. Every kid there has a snotty nose.

Jasper is snoozing now after spending a morning in the Ergo while I cleaned house. Before that I did my longest run yet!!! I am calling it 14, but I guess it just barely under. In the days before Garmins we would have called it a 14 mile run. It was steamy, but I held on. I’ve got my work cut out for me to get a Boston Qualifier. I can run Boston pace pretty easily, but with a couple stops to get water and a gel, and a bathroom stop(I love Jasper, but he did ruin my bladder), I was over pace at the end. I’ll keep working on it, and this is just the beginning of my training. I also found this pregnancy blog. Another great blog from a pro runner running through pregnancy. Hopefully she’ll keep it up through the comeback period.
Next week will be a busy one for me. We are putting on our national conference at work. It should be a very good conference, but will mean a lot of hours. We also have Mike’s brother and sister and family coming. It should be fun, and it will be great that they can take Jasper while I am putting in the extra hours, so he won’t be in daycare for 12 hours a day. So, this weekend we are just trying to get a lot of chores and errands done and enjoy any little downtime we get. I plan to run as much as I can, hit baby yoga and hopefully a real yoga class (this picture is Jasper doing his carseat yoga), bake some treats, and Monday night have a girls’ dinner. I LOVE 3 day weekends (who doesn’t?)

The Owl and I had a nice weekend with my sister in law, Jodi and niece/ Owl’s cousin, McKenna. Mike had a boys’ weekend with a Ranger’s game and disc golf, so we accompanied him to Manfield, and got to shop, eat good pizza and gelato, run, and see McKenna’s swim meet although it was a little steamy…

I got to hit the Walnut Creek Linear Park…a paved trail connecting all the parks in Mansfield. It is an awesome run. I run about 3 miles to get there, then hit the trail. It is 100% shaded, and paved, so no worries about tripping and falling. Since I discovered it back in December, running in Mansfield is a real treat. I personally like paved trails. There is all the beauty of a hike, but no picking up my feet, and I feel like I can just fly. Well, as much as a run on a couple hours sleep allows me to.
The Owl did great while we were there, he just refused to sleep. As you can tell from the pictures, he never seems tired. I, on the other hand, never seem to find the energy to brush my hair or put on real clothes (not just running clothes) as demonstrated by the photos.
I am all signed up for the Frankenthon, aka my fall marathon, aka “I hope I am still a real runner”. So in the next couple weeks I’ll make my best attempt at real workouts. One of the toughest things about being a new mom is getting so little sleep. I see a direct correlation between my pace and the sleep I got the night before my run. I am going to do my best to do a tempo run, a long run, and some type of interval (gag) every week, plus a couple recovery runs. I know there are some mornings it may not happen, but that is my goal. I also will keep up yoga, as I feel it is essential to my running at this point. It is getting tough to go to anything other than baby yoga, but I’ll make it a goal every week, but not beat myself up if it doesn’t happen. My hierarchy is Jasper,Mike, and Pancake, work, then running. I kinda wish I could switch work and running, but I like getting a paycheck.
Speaking of work, I’ve been thinking of the pros/ cons to staying at home with your baby versus working out of the home. I love feeling productive and having a job that is very definitive of who I am. Of course I don’t like seeing less of Jasper and have strangers care for him much of the day. I also really feel like I miss out on all the cool mom groups there are in Austin. I am sure some do weekend things, but that is usually family time, or time for me to squeeze in a little time to myself. I know there is a group from the baby yoga class. It’s got to be nice to be in that type of network. It’s just with my schedule, I don’t feel I could add another thing. Maybe eventually I can fit it in.
Ok, the Owl is asleep…I better take my window of opportunity and see if he’ll give me a couple of hours.

Just a moment…

I am off today. We are going to Mansfield this afternoon, and the thought of trying to work all morning, then rush home and pack us all up was too much. The old Clea would have worked until the second we left town. The new me says I save up my days off for a reason, so I am going to make the whole process easier on myself. Plus, Jasper has been in daycare 3 weeks now, and I figure having a morning together is a good idea. We will get to go to baby yoga before we leave town. Right now he is in his Exersaucer playing and watching the Nightmare Before Christmas. I am so glad I made him a Tim Burton fan.
A few quick thoughts I’ve been wanting to put on here for awhile:

Running is going pretty good, although my build up has been a little slower than I had planned. The other day the marathontalk I listened to talked about the concept of thinking about your runs in terms of “what is this run doing for me?” If you have a goal, and gear your runs towards that goal, the idea is you are a lot less likely to just go out and pile on mile after mile, if you think of your runs as having a purpose to get to that goal. The really stress thinking of rest and recovery as “training”. This concept is very helpful for me, as I am now forced into off days, light weeks, and limited time. I used to train for a big event by every 3-4 weeks taking a down week, where I did less. Somehow over the years, the sisterhood morphed into doing 20 milers every weekend, and we quit backing down ever…and I got slower. Well, that is no longer an option, so I am back to every few weeks dropping back a bit. I am hoping I benefit from this. This is going to be a drop back week by default. Today was 8 with Steve (my goal was to make it quick, but the steamy weather ate into our pace a bit). Tomorrow I hope for 10. Next week, I’ll try and go back up to 13-14. I hope my ultra friends don’t laugh at these miles, but reality is I am no longer an ultra/ trail runner, but a runner training for a fall marathon….like a lot of Austin runners are right now.
Yesterday was one of those days that being a full time mom and having an away from home job, and being the only food source for Jasper seemed sooo difficult. Overall, I think it is a small miracle we both make it to work on Thursdays by 630 am. I know there will be occasional hectic days, so I am not sweating it too much. I just try to think back to when he was first born and it took me until noon to go for a little walk, take a 2 minute shower and have a cup of coffee.

The pictures here are me and the Owl at House Pizza last week, a turtle he helped me rescue from the middle of the street, and evidence he’s starting to get teeth. Oh, and that he will be a very active little boy. That toy he has is not meant to bend!

Cleanliness is next to Owliness…

Here are some pictures Jasper will hate me for someday. But I had to at least do one bath photo session. Lately I’ve been told Jasper is huge, so you be the judge. There’s not much to write about, because life is pretty routine. It is nice to have a schedule after a couple months of not. I run, we go to daycare, I work, I visit at lunch, I work, we go home, eat, chores, maybe a little tv/ reading and repeat process. I’ve kept weekends pretty plan-free for awhile. I ran one of Austin’s more popular routes again, the Scenic dr 12 miler. It felt fantastic, and I sure appreciate my chances to meet up with friends. Since I don’t have as much time to run, I really try and make my runs quality, and I try and push the pace on the long ones (there was a time I didn’t consider 12 long). I also got to go to my favorite yoga teacher Saturday, for the first time since Jasper was born. Now that was a treat.

My collection of things I said I would never buy continues to grow. We got Jasper an Exersaucer. It is a huge, plastic thing a baby can stand in and swivel 360 degrees, playing with lots of plastic, loud, and flashing toys the whole way around. They have one at his daycare and he loves it. I found one at Pumpkin Patch (used kid’s stuff, but in pristine condition…a great place to pick up very nice stuff and clothes). He just got done hanging out in it watching Baby Einstein. I probably said I would never buy Baby Einstein either….but yet here it is. What you won’t do for a few moments to have your hands free….
Today I ran with Stephanie, then with Mike, Pancake and Jasper. Man, summer is here! Jasper and I then went to baby yoga. Another shout out for baby yoga….I love getting a workout and spending time with Jasper…and he loves it. Next Jasper had to endure a trip to Petticoat Fair. Ok, another plug for a local business…I love this place. A couple more errands, and then we spend the afternoon making cookies and watching Baby Mozart. Now I am having my favorite dinner, good pizza, salad and wine.
All week I’ve been listening to marathontalk.com. Mark turned me onto this podcast, and it is so fantastic. While they have interviews with people like Paula Radcliffe and Ryan Hall, they also interview regular people. There is a great interview with a single mom who took up marathoning and how she finds time to train, work and raise her kids. There are also excellent training tips for regular people…those of us who just can’t run 100 miles weeks. There are too many good tips for me to write about here, but listening to it makes me want to run, and train smart. I just can’t recommend it enough. I’ve also been listening to Splendid Table, a podcast about food, so it makes me hungry for really good food, so after that I’d better listen to a podcast about running.

Never wake a sleeping baby…

I am sitting here next to Jasper while he is sleeping in my bed. I confess I’ve been letting him sleep here since I started work to make my life better. I just couldn’t take working all day in an office with no windows and no sunlight, staring at a computer all on a couple hours of sleep. It was the perfect storm to fall asleep on the job. I guess I’ll worry about getting him out of the bed later. It does kinda make sense if you are breastfeeding since he still gets up to eat a couple times a night, but now he quickly goes back to sleep and he falls asleep much earlier. Babies don’t need to go to bed at 1100! Plus, I can watch a movie or something while he is drifting off. I used to rock him and attempt endless failed transfers into the bassinet, and before I knew it the whole evening was shot. Lately I’ve been getting an hour or 2 of freedom after he is asleep. Last night I saw about half of an awesome documentary on PBS about the history of whaling in America. Sounds geeky, but it was fascinating. Tonight I watched Lost, which I compare to being in a bad relationship that one just doesn’t have the will to get out of. If this keeps up with Jasper falling asleep before 10pm, I might be able to read again (a book, not just a magazine or a website).

Anyhow, the 40 day yoga challenge is over. It really wasn’t a challenge to do a little yoga everyday. It was a challenge to go to real classes regularly. I suppose I added more to my day though. If I am watching anything on tv, I usually am on the floor stretching, doing yoga push ups, or still trying to master crow pose. Mike used to laugh at me, but now I think he doesn’t think twice to see me falling forward in my pajamas while trying to master crow. Jasper often finds himself on my legs while I lower them up and down trying to reclaim some type of abdominal muscles. Those muscles do not seem to want to come back. I’ll cut my running time by about 10 minutes to ensure I can stretch out a little when I get home. I don’t ever want to throw my back out again, so I am trying to be very proactive! I have even taught Mike a couple shoulder opening poses to help with his disc golf. I have a long term goal of taking the teacher training someday. I don’t necessarily want to be a teacher, but it would be great to learn more and improve. Maybe in about a year I can find the one night a week free it would take to do this. A girl can dream…
Well, I should follow Jasper’s lead and get some sleep.

Happy Mother’s Day…

Well, I now know all about the hardest job in the world. You never get a day off, you don’t get paid, and you don’t always get a thank you. But somehow it’s still all worth it. I rather sheepishly admit that until I became I mother I didn’t fully understand what goes into it, and it makes me appreciate all mothers including my own a lot more.

Jasper gave me the gift of a long shower. He napped long enough for me to get full shower and not a 2 minute in and out shower. He also got me a bouquet of snap dragons.
I kinda did most my Mother’s Day stuff yesterday. I ran 13 miles! (ok 12.8, but since Stratford Dr was on the course, I am calling it 13). It was such a treat to run with a group, run at town lake and run Stratford, which I really love despite it’s difficulty. I had not done this route in a year or so, and believe me, if you run the trails and Tarrytown everyday, don’t take it for granted. It is such a fabulous place to run. Oh, and Lance Armstrong just happened to cycle by us and said hello. I’ve never seen him in all my years here, so that was kind of wild. Also, Meghan brought me the cutest pink running shirt that says “Run like a mother” across the front.
Then I went and got my hair cut and colored which meant Mike watched Jasper a couple hours, so that was another treat. Then Mike went out with some friends and Jasper and I went to Rogue running and I got new shoes, and couldn’t resist the 50% off rack, so some new shorts too. We then went out to the Salt Lick in Round Rock for Robert Czysz’s (coz in law) birthday with a big group. Jasper and I left before everyone else went to an Express baseball game and went home and watched a documentary and fell asleep together by 900.
Today we went to Blue Dahlia to eat, then to baby yoga together and then went to get baby supplies at Babies R Us. Jasper probably heard a few f-bombs, because I hate that store, they seriously have the worst customer service ever, but their diapers are really cheap.
Then I got home and made a massive portobello, leek and spinach lasagna to make my work week easier by having a lot of food made. Now I am relaxing doing nothing which is really nice!
Anyhow, Happy Mother’s Day to my friends and family. I know some of you work a lot harder at being a mom than I do and some of you have a lot more challenges, so I toast you with the glass of wine I am about to go drink. Here’s to the hardest job in world, but also the best…..

Jasper surviving daycare so far…

As recently as 6 weeks ago, I said there was no way I could run, get ready for work, get Jasper ready and get him off to daycare. It seemed impossible. Well, we’ve done it so far all week, and we both survived.

I am very aware that commercial day care is not the ideal childcare….there is not a lot of individual attention. But the fact that I can go see him everyday at lunch makes it doable. The staff seems nice, but overwhelmed. I am sure it is not the cleanest place, but everyone there seemed to be doing the best with what they had. I cried the first day, but it’s getting much better. He always seems happy when I go over at lunch, so I think we can stick with it for now.
The mornings are not as bad as I thought. The evenings are tough. There is so much stuff to bring, I am a little overwhelmed by it all when I have a hungry Jasper and a Pancake that needs to go out. I have the breast pump (sorry for my guy friends to read this), in a backpack on my back, Jasper strapped to my front, a lunch bag, and his bag with bottles and a change of clothes for the day. Every night I have to clean up all the day’s bottles, make sure I have milk for new ones, and since I visit Jasper at lunch, I need to have a lunch packed for me. The mornings are not so bad since I to to a lot of trouble to do all this the night before. Monday night seemed so busy with making dinner, packing. doing laundry, but it has gotten better and better as the week went on.
And, soooo sorry to disturb some of you with this, but breastfeeding at a full time job is really hard. I had a 3 hour lunch meeting the other day, and I needed to go feed Jasper. It is hard to not put him first when I am at work. Then I have to take time later in the day to use the pump, so I have enough milk for him for the next day, and all of this cuts into my work time, which I am trying to limit to 8 hours a day for a few weeks while Jasper adjusts to daycare. But, add in the feeding, and my work time starts to get chipped away. I am sure I’ll get better at managing my time, but for now I feel like I can never go to lunch with a coworker, or take a few minutes to hear about someone’s weekend, or run to the coffee cart, etc. I feel like every minute counts, and it makes the work day a little stressful.
I have managed to run everyday but Thursday and that will be the norm. I can run for an hour, and depending on how fast I run, I can add a little extra distance here and there. I guess I am doing something right in my organization if I can do this. Thursdays I have a standing 645 meeting. The daycare doesn’t open until 630, so I need to be there waiting by the door at 630 to make the meeting. I was pretty proud of myself I got myself, and a packed up baby out of the house by 6:10 am.
A nice side effect of daycare is so far Jasper is exhausted. He can’t nap near as much as he used to. So, he had been sleeping great at night. He slept through the night the other day…sleeping from 10pm-4am. It was heavenly, and I felt so rested. Last night he almost made it again, but had a bad dream and woke up at 200, but went right back to sleep, so I am hoping that this trend remains!
So my overall assessment of daycare plus work is it is not as bad as I thought. It is not easy, but it seems to be doable. I now need to work on managing time to allow for a little down time with Mike in the evenings and catching up with friends, as that just did not seem to happen. We’ll just have to see what the next week brings.

Heels and Hills Half Marathon = Total Bust…

While I was pregnant I would often think how much I was looking forward to doing a race and having Mike and Jasper at the finish cheering me in. Well, that little fantasy will have to wait until fall. The weekend’s half marathon didn’t happen for me. There were plenty of hints all week not to race: I had bronchitis, Jasper was on a sleeping protest, it was my first week back at work and a little hectic, I took a hard fall on a run one morning and was sore all week, and finally Mike and Jasper both had a little cold, making them both congested.

We were using the race as excuse to visit Mike’s sister, Jodi, and family in Mansfield, since the race was in Las Colinas. Friday night, Mike and Jasper seemed better, so we packed up all the stuff including a bassinet that Jasper needed and left early Saturday morning.
Jasper was pretty fussy once we got there. I think he was just tired of not sleeping well due to congestion and he was not as happy as he normally is. That is not saying much as he is a very good tempered baby, but if he’s going to fuss, it just makes it harder when it is in someone else’s home. So, that part was hard. I had to sit out a trip for yummy frozen yogurt because Jasper was fussy. I got him to sleep about 830 and he slept until 1100. Meanwhile, Mike had developed the worst congestion any of us had ever seen. It came out of no where. He takes every antihistamine in the house. There was no way he would sleep like that, so he sat in another guest room all night without any sleep. Meanwhile Jasper was up every 2 hours, but that seems par for the course these days and I didn’t really fret.
The plan was for Mike to drop me off at the race, then go back to his sister’s and gather everyone up to go see me finish. Only he felt like death in the morning, so despite being disappointed he and Jasper wouldn’t see me run, I said I would just go alone. And then, another curve ball: as I am getting dressed I realize I have no running bra. Guys don’t understand, but my girlfriends do…this is an essential item. I had grabbed my favorite one before I left, so I have no idea how it didn’t make it into my bag, but it didn’t. I only have nursing bras, and decide I will just wear the two I brought together to stay comfortable while I run. I’m sure 2 layers of lace won’t cause much chafing….yeah, right.
So I google map the directions and head out. I don’t know DFW at all. Sooo….when the directions take me to a country road and say it’s a highway, I think there is no way that could be right and turn around. I call Mike, he says I should have turned onto the road. I go back. It’s pitch black, no street lights, I turn, and after a couple miles realize I am southbound and need to be northbound. There is no where to turn around. I drive for a few more miles, turn around, miss the entrance to the highway or the country road, flip around, get on, and realize I have 20 minutes to make a 40 minute drive that I am not really sure where all I need to turn, I still have no packet or race number. There is no way I am doing this run. I call Mike, I start crying, and tell him I am coming back.
I immediately head out and run 10 miles. I spend the first couple miles crying. Not really over the run, but just that it is frustrating to feel like my freedom and control aren’t there very much these days. The run is nice on a great network of trails, and everything is green and lush. My frustration melts away, and I think of how good natured Jasper is that even when he was sick all week, he constantly smiled. There’s something to learn from this. I just can’t get upset over stuff like this. I smoke the run, running sub 8 minute miles. I felt wonderful, despite a couple hours of sleep, and wearing 2 lace nursing bras, one over the other.
When I get back, Mike is miserable. He’s sick to his stomach and cannot breathe. He lies down, I take a 5 minute shower and pack up the TON of crap we brought. This trip is getting better and better. I need coffee, bad. I hit a local place. I get a cup of burnt skim milk. Ok, this isn’t funny anymore!
I drive since Mike is sick. By Hillsboro, I can talk again. I get a Starbucks and feel better. Mike feels and sounds better. We continue on.
By Austin Mike is 100% fine. Very mysterious. We think he had a massive reaction to something there, and taking multiple allergy pills with beer and thai food did a number to his stomach. I am relived he is alright, but do find it somewhat ironic.
So, that was my big race weekend I was looking forward to. I am over it by now. What can you do? Sometimes something is just not meant to be and clearly this race was just not going to happen.
After missing my alarm for my return to the sisters’ run last week, and the snafus of this week, next I am hoping next weekend’s run goes off without a hitch!
Up this week: Jasper goes to day care 😦 more work for me, and my first Mother’s day.

Well I survived week 1 of work, baby, and life. Work wasn’t so bad. After about 3/4 of the first day, I felt like I had never left. It was very strange at first, but everything returned very quickly. By the 2nd day it felt totally normal. Getting out of the house in the morning wasn’t that bad either. I ran everyday, and just started going in to work about 45 minutes later (means I have to stay later, but oh well), but it made getting out after a run, shower, and Mike showering pretty doable.

The rough part was I had/ have bronchitis. Jasper got sick too, although not too bad, but it has meant he refuses to sleep. He just never acts tired. I, on the other hand, lived off coffee. At least half of the week, he got up every 1.5-2 hours, after not going to sleep until 1100. Last night he wouldn’t go to bed until midnight, and then got up at 3 and 500. I am doing my best to just deal, but it will be so nice when he sleeps. Maybe in a couple years?
The other part that could get tricky was life. I’d been doing chores throughout the day when I was off, and now that time is gone. I don’t have the luxury of being able to start dinner at 400. I planned pretty good and we only ate out one night, but I didn’t feel like I had any down time. It took me 3 nights to watch New Moon.
Mike and I switched off Jasper duties and still got to do our after work activities one night each…so I at least got one yoga class, and my core is paying for it, or lack of. I soooo need to rebuild those muscles.
So, it wasn’t too bad. I survived with some wrenches thrown in. I was really worried we would not be able to go out of town this weekend, but Jasper seems well enough, I’m sure he won’t sleep, but he won’t sleep here either. So the half marathon is still on.
Next week we add day care, but I am thinking it might actually be better. I’ll get to see him everyday at lunch.
Well, after driving to the airport and back just to get Jasper to sleep, he finally is. So, I am going to take advantage and sign off here for bedtime. I hope I get more than an hour and a half nap!
PS….I am having a rough time getting to my emails. I can read them, but I never seem to have my hands free to type a reply. I hope no one thinks I am ignoring them. Please call me if you need a response. I can talk if my hands aren’t free.
PPS…Thanks to Mark for turning me onto the the Brit podcast Marathon Talk. This week was a very cool interview with Paula Radcliffe. I highly recommend it.