Three things…

I read the other day that Oprah said you can only really do three things well at once.   I’d have to say I agree.  Right now my three things are family, work and running.  I dabble in lots of other things, but anytime I try and make any of them a big thing in my life, the balance seems to tip.  So I guess for now I am appreciating my three things.

Whew, we are done with Thanksgiving.  It is always nice to visit family, but there is no way around admitting that travel with an infant is a massive pain in the butt.  There is so much extra stuff to haul, and haul home.  Jasper continues to do much better, but suffered a couple little hiccups due to traveling and not sleeping in his own bed.   I’m glad we are home and refocusing on his routine.   We must seem very rigid and inflexible to other people,  but trust me that you will do anything when you don’t sleep for 9 months.  If it works, it works!    Life is so much better now that we’ve made such big improvements.

I am currently sitting here in bed very sore due to trying Ashtanga yoga for the first time this weekend.  Wow!  What a workout.  I loved it, and plan on going again since the class is during one of Jasper’s naps.  For those who do not know it’s a little like “hot yoga”.  The poses are always the same, done in sequence, and there are a lot of twists and binds.  I am not really doing it justice here.  Let’s just say once again yoga has shown me how “out of shape” I am as a runner.   I am more sore from this than most races I’ve done….but I loved every minute of it.  I have a dream to one day take the yoga teacher training.  There is a course designed for people who work, so it is in the evenings.  I don’t think I could swing that with the Owl though, so it remains on my bucket list.

So what is up with my running?  Well, I’ve kinda sucked on workouts lately.  I did 20 2 weekends ago with Mark at a very quick pace for me.  I proceeded to get a full blown cold, and was so sore for a couple days, I ran but not very fast.   Thanksgiving out of town also screwed up hard runs.  Once again, I ran, but not very fast.  And then the Ashtanga  yoga class literally has me grimacing to go down stairs, so once again, did my run this morning, but not very fast.  Decker is next weekend.  We’ll see how I do.  I would like to keep it right at 8 minute miles.

Ok, new topic.  I am totally convinced of the benefits of a vegetarian/ vegan diet.  We’ve been eating veggie a lot, but mostly vegan…not doing a ton of cheese.  Mike has been doing 3 full veggie days a week, but not really cutting anything out…like microbrews, chocolate, etc.  Although he hasn’t weighed, he has to put his belt in 2 notches, and his pants are all too big.  All just from going veggie 3 days a week.  Wow!   Meanwhile, I just look at a goodie, and my thighs grow.   Oh well, at least I know we are building the foundations for healthy meals and treats for Owl.  My latest addiction is raw coconut butter.  Has anyone else had this stuff?  It is incredible.  I crumbled a spoonful in my cereal this morning….my addiction is getting serious.  I also continue to get pumpkin spice lattes any chance I get since their time is limited to the holidays….then I feel the shame that I just forked over $5 to corporate Starbucks.   We all have our vices…

Ok lots coming up:  my first week of working 32 hours (yay!), getting a real Christmas tree, redoing Owl’s bathroom (the theme is submarines…..I cannot wait to see how it turns out), and hopefully more Ashtanga yoga (I’m going to try hard to be a weekend regular if anyone wants to join me…let me know).

Lots of updates…

So much going on with work, family visits and the start of the holidays.  So I have lots to update.

The Owl’s sleeping is going better and better.  We have an occasional rough patch, but overall, I am getting more sleep than I was about 3 weeks ago.  A combination of things have helped, and he even has put himself to sleep a couple times.  Last night I got up for two brief sessions with him, and today was the first day I wasn’t struggling to stay awake at work in longer than I can remember.   I feel like I am getting my life back.   I know that sounds dramatic, but I was spending my entire evening, every evening, trying to get that kid to sleep!

I got word this week I am officially running the Austin marathon as a pacer again.  Yay!  This was so much fun 2 years ago.  It is harder than it sounds.   I will have to actually go and practice the pace for the 5:00 group, and running it evenly the entire way.  I am excited too since Livestrong is the sponsor, I am hoping for some nice gear.

This means that the Austin marathon will not be an “A” race for me.  I have the Decker half marathon coming up, then the 3M.  I’m shooting for a goal time at Decker, but I intend to really buckle down on the speedwork and make 3M a true goal race.  I am not sure yet what time I am shooting for.  I’ve become a little lazy with tempo runs….minus the killer 20 miler I did with Mark last weekend.  It was an easy run for him, but for me, with the last half  all under 8:00 pace, I was giving it a lot to finish strong, and I was sore for two days!  I had a massage Monday, so that helped.  Hey, this is fast for me!   Anyhow, I am trying to decide what to do for a spring “A” race.   There are a lot of trail runs, so I will probably pick one, without a clue how I will do….I haven’t run on trails other than one early post partum run at Walnut Creek in over a year now.  So, we shall see.  I love having a goal and it keeps me motivated, and once April hits, there are no races here until October, so I tend to pile them on while I can.

We are outta here in the am for exotic Mansfield, TX.  It will be nice to see family, but when you have a baby who is nocturnally challenged, it can be less than fun.  Last time we went to Mike’s sister’s I have a distinct memory of everyone going to get frozen yogurt (which I love), while I sat home alone trying to get the Owl to sleep, and then getting up all night.  I am sure there are some other moms who read this and know those nights where it is 2am and you think “how soon would it be ok for me to just get up?  Because I am just ready for this night to end!”  Anyhow, we’ve got a nice playpen for him to sleep in and lots of his blankies….all I can do is be hopeful.

Ok, time to be thankful.  Seriously, I am not a real sentimental person, but I love Thanksgiving.   Hope everyone has a good one.

Schedules!

Most of us live or die by our schedules.   I am type A, so I am always plotting my whole day out:  run, stretch, core work, coffee, shower, feed Owl, play with Owl, work, pick Owl up from daycare, walk Pancake and Owl, make dinner/ feed Owl at same time, bathe Owl, put Owl to bed, and then I have a little time since Jasper now goes to bed early.  If I was like Mark, I would do at least an hour of strength training and then yoga.  If I was Liza I would run 35 miles on a treadmill, but most nights I spend my itty-bitty bit of free time on this computer reading friends’ blogs, having a glass of wine, watching Broadwalk Empire or Top Chef Just Desserts, folding a lot of laundry and thinking about the yoga DVDs calling my name.  Ok, sometimes I stretch while I watch shows, and I always seem to have some kind of housework, but I suck at night workouts.  I do such a good job getting up in the morning no matter what the weather or how little I have slept, but when it comes to doing anything at night that doesn’t involve my butt on a couch, I need to seriously motivate.  So for now I’ll keep reading blogs from folks who somehow manage to work up a sweat while The Office is on, and the internet calls, and hope they motivate me to turn that yoga DVD on.

In other schedule news, I have a big change.  I am going to start working a 4 day week.  Mostly I’ll work 32 hours, and there will be times I work more when we have big stuff going on.  I’ve been talking to my boss about this and she made it happen.  I work in a very specialized field, and I really did spend the first year I was at this job taking a lot of classes and things to train for it…it would be really hard to find another person, and my boss must have decided it was worth it to let me work just a little less in order for me to stay there.  Plus, I never wanted to quit, I like my job, I just needed a tiny bit of time with the Owl.  You see, we wouldn’t stave to death if I didn’t work.  We could still pay our bills.  Some things would have to go for sure.  I like that I can get Jasper what he needs without much worry, but I wonder if one day he’ll say what he really wanted was more time with me.  Whenever I sit down and play with him, I think,  we could get rid of all his toys, his cute coordinated outfits, and his beloved Sesame Street Murray DVR’d shows.  All he really wants is for us to spend time with him.  That’s all he has ever wanted.  It seemed worth it to me to try and find a way I could spend more time with him.  I know not everyone can do this, and if my boss hadn’t been so nice about it, I probably would have stuck it out at 40+ hours, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to try.  The best career advice I have got so far, is something a former manager nearing her retirement  told me, “You will never look back and say ‘I wish I would have worked more hours'”  So in a couple more weeks I will have 3 days to spend with the Owl! (ok, and another plus is a little more time to do all the STUFF I try and cram into the weekend).

Oh, and the photo has nothing to do with schedules.  It was my birthday this week, and Jasper got me these flowers.

Weekend fun…

We had a crazy week last week and the weekend did seem to improve things.   Jasper had a Dr appt Friday and she recommended yogurt to help clear up his stomach flu (which it did), and she recommend we put him to bed much earlier even if he didn’t seem tired.  We tried it the last couple nights, and he had 1 wake up Friday night after we went to bed and 2 last night.  He did wake up both nights before we went to bed, but Mike got him back to sleep.  Still not perfect, but much better.  I have had some longer chunks of sleep now, it is a big improvement over just 2-3 hour chunks.  It seems we were missing his sleep window and he was getting overly tired.  I took an informal poll from a  mom list serve  I am on, and it sounds like you have to have some form of crying it out to get difficult sleepers to sleep all night.  So now we just need to figure out a good time to try things and it won’t be until after Thanksgiving.

In running news, I guess I am officially training for the Decker half marathon.  It will be fun to see if I can improve my pace.  This time it really doesn’t mean anything other than personal satisfaction…it’s not like I will qualify for anything, and there are so many really fast runners in Austin now I am waaaaaaay out of the running for any age group awards, unlike the good old days when I used to get them.  This weekend I gave things a whirl on our hilly 15 miler route to play around and see if I could hit sub 8 min/ pace.  Steve had sent me a link to an interview with NYC marathon 2nd place woman Shalane Flanagan that she did mostly  16-18 mile tempo runs for training.    So I thought I would copy her this weekend.  Not that I think I can be a top finisher at a major marathon, but I love a quick mid distance run.   It went very well, better than I expected.  I think it was because I had slept more than usual the night before, and it did make me wonder if I could have done my marathon faster if I had been more rested.  Oh well, it’s done now, but anytime the running gods hand me a good day I will take it.

This weekend flew by (don’t they all?).  We got to do some fun things.   Jasper got his first shoes.  I had some shoes when he was an infant but he never wore them.  His shoes cost a lot.  I spent more than I should have.   Carrie from Sex and the City would envy how cool Jasper’s feet now look.    I had two Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes.  I am ashamed to admit I am addicted to this almost $5 drink.  Mike, Jasper and I met the Kalahurkas at the Flying Saucer for delicious Real Ale Coffee porter and then I had a pumpkin gelato even though I was freezing, but I freakin’ love anything pumpkin.    The Owl picked out a giant snake stuffed animal that made me cringe, but he seemed to love it, so I got it and named him Snakeley.    I got to go to a real, for grown-ups and not for babies yoga class.  It was a short hatha flow class, but I sweated, I did a million planks and chaturangas.  My arms hurt today, that is a good thing.    We took a couple walks with Pancake.  It was cool enough to wear a jacket.  And, suddenly it is Sunday night.  Boo.

It never always gets better…

It’s only Wednesday, and this week has already proven to be a sticky one.  Jasper’s one good night of sleep last week was quickly undone by 3 horrible nights in a row.  The fact he got yet another stomach bug didn’t help.   The whole process did manage to break me into my periodic total breakdown.   He also refused to go to sleep at a decent time, so I would get him in bed and Mike and I didn’t even try to do anything for the evening, we were both so tired, oh and Mike had the stomach flu too.  One good thing he had to cancel his work trip due to illness.  Bad for Mike, good for me to have him here.   So yeah, I am hoping things get better.

I was soooo tired this morning.  Jasper got up at 330.  At 430 Mike got up and got him back down and I just cried that it was time for my alarm and I had slept about 3 hours total for the night.  I decided to go to work just a few minutes late and took a 30 minute nap before my run.   I know it sounds silly to complain about no sleep and then get up to go for a run, but I need it.  I have reached a point where I am so challenged everyday by sleep deprivation.  It’s more than just being tired, it really gets me down.  I feel like I’ve gone from someone who has a lot of energy, mentally and physically, to not having much at all.  It’s hard to understand months of sleep deprivation if you haven’t lived it…I know I didn’t get it until now.  It just chips away at you, wearing you down mentally and physically.  Anyhow, I don’t want to be too negative.  The run helps me shift through it all.  Sometimes I start in holding back tears and I finish happy and thinking “this isn’t so bad, I can get through this.”  I made Jasper a promise I would help him get through this difficult time of sleeping troubles without letting him cry all night, and I intend to keep that promise.    I guess a nice side effect is it has made me a faster runner since I start most mornings with a lot of frustration to work through.

Ok onto better things.   Alicia wrote a blog post about blogs.  I kinda have had a similar idea for awhile, but I have not had the time to sort out my thoughts.  I am fascinated by people who have really great blogs and end up making a living off them….or any money at all for that matter.   Not that I want to get rich off a blog, but I do want to make mine more professional and interesting.  I really need to keep my super nice Nikon D60 out and handy instead of taking crappy photos with my phone….like the super cute (just my opinion), but horrible quality photo in this post.  I also need to make my fairly dull life more interesting and pick an angle people want to read about (maybe no one is really that interested in reading about me slowly losing my mind!?!).   Steve suggested I try and become queen of the running mama blogs.  Ok!  I have a ways to go.  There are some really cool blogs out there.  This coming weekend my goal is to keep the good camera out.  Must get good photos!

Marathon Madness…

We are two weeks out from my goal marathon, and Mark has decided to train for White Rock in Dallas as his goal marathon.  Part of me wanted to jump on board right away, but then I thought about it and realized the travel with Jasper would be hard, and I promised myself I would not over race.    I’ve been listening to a ton of podcasts at work, and many focus on marathon running.  All week the New York Times has had great articles on marathoning and today watching the race was so much fun.  All this is giving me a bit of marathon fever….plus I am still on a little high from my race since I met my goal.

It got me thinking more and more about Boston.  I am kinda bummed I do not even have the option of entering this year.  Taking Jasper would have been hard, but he also flies for free right now, and that may not be the case in 2012.  Plus if it sold out in 8 hours this year, next year’s registration is going to be a cluster of epic proportions.  It may require some War Games like computer set up with a million internet lines constantly refreshing.   But, what can you do?  I’ve run it three times, so I may have to just be really happy with that.  Or maybe somehow, my registration will go through in 2012 (which seems like a really long way off!)

This week I re-entered the world of hard runs.  I did 16 Saturday, and made it a progression run ending with 7:45 pace with Mark for the last five miles or so.     This is a great work out you can do at any distance.  Just make sure your pace gets faster as you go and end at your quickest pace.

In non running news, Jasper had one night this week he slept for 8 hours straight!   The next night he was up twice and one of the times was for an hour 😦   But, I feel overall things are moving in the right direction.  I know this will still take some time, and won’t happen overnight (no pun intended).  It needs to start happening soon though, because lately I feel so overwhelmed and I think a lot of it is from being tired for so long.

I’ve been trying to make a lot of healthy dinners that I can try out on Jasper someday.  I tried roasted veggies for the first time and loved how easy it was and how different it made them taste.

I put them over wheat pasta with just a hint of marinara and fresh mozzarella.  It’s all about quick dinners these days.    The roasted broccoli was so yummy, and I highly recommend cooking it this way.

I also did a little power shopping.  None of my pre-pregnancy pants fit me anymore, and I realized that Owl’s wardrobe was much better than mine.  But shopping with an infant is really hard, plus I am a terrible shopper and I never feel like I find anything.  Mike and I were out running errands and he entertained the Owl while I dashed into Banana Republic.    Forget sales.  I didn’t even look at the price.  I found pants that fit, grabbed 2 pairs and ran out.   The Owl forces me into efficiency.

Lots coming up this week:  Mike goes to Canada, so the Owl and I are solo.  Mike has rigged me up a genius mobile baby alarm so I can run up and down the street.  So, we’ll see how it goes….

So many blogs, so little time…and, some questions…

I get ideas all the time for Pancakeiscute.  I get ideas that are probably more interesting than my usual:  this was my run, I don’t sleep, the Owl is cute posts.  But I am a lazy writer.  It takes real patience to put an entire thought out idea into a bit of writing, and I have never been good at that.  Plus, in my defense, the Owl interrupts….a lot.   Anyhow, I am going to really try to get some of these ideas down before they quit being relevant.

Idea #1:  stroller running.  When I was pregnant I started to research running strollers, and quickly ended my research after reading almost exclusively about the “bob”.  It is the name brand of stroller everyone seemed to rave about.  They were pricey, but Mike said we could get whatever I needed to keep up my running.  Mike’s mom was kind enough to get it for us a baby shower gift, and I really did think I would do all my runs with it.  I even practiced running around our block with it, before the Owl was born to get a feel for it.

When the Owl was born, I was quickly told no running with him in it until he has head control.  Lucky for me, the Owl more or less had head control since birth, but to play it safe, we waited until about 3-4 months.  And, then it was very slow jogging/ walking, and just for a couple miles.  By this time, I discovered that if I got up really early, I could get my run in, and savor about an hour to myself.  That was worth losing a little sleep over.   So this continued…..I would try and get out the door to run by 515, and maybe jog a little with the stroller on the weekend with Mike.

Mike traded running for full time disc golf over the summer, and it was too hot to take mid day walks, so the Bob pretty much was only going around the block to walk Pancake.

Well, it has cooled off.   I now walk with Jasper in the Bob quite a bit.   I also have conditioned myself to make really early, alone runs a part of my life.    I have come to love that little bit of time where I regroup after really hard nights, organize my mental to do list, plan my next race, and put what has been a really challenging last few months into perspective.

Mike’s return to business travel has me revisiting running with the Bob.  It’s that or no running.   So this weekend I did a trial of a workout with the Bob.  This was to be a run at marathon pace, not a jog, and my goal was to go 6 miles.  I got up early, got myself ready, and for the first time ever, anxiously waited for Jasper to get up.   Once he was up, I gave him a bottle and put in a ton of layers.  It was unseasonably cold, being in the 50s.  He had on fleece pants, a shirt, a sweatshirt, a hat, 2 pairs of socks and a blanket.  I grabbed a couple toys and the bottle and we were off.

I’d always taken the stroller on trail, and for this run I picked a paved route.  It did not take long for me to start knocking off 8:20s.  I would have to stop periodically and adjust a blanket or toy, but Jasper was babbling and acting like he was having fun.  When my garmin beeped 6, I was pretty excited.  We did it!  A stroller workout.  I even went a little over 6 miles.  My excitement was quickly ruined when I got home and felt Jasper’s hands.  They were like ice.  I had been tucking them under the blanket, but he obviously was taking them out.  He has little mittens but he doesn’t like them, as he likes to play and hold his bottle to drink while in the stroller.  And, despite 2 pairs of socks, his feet were pretty cold too.  Plus, it wasn’t even that cold, only the 50s….it will get a lot colder.

So how do y’all do it?  If you run with a stroller how do you get going quickly? (another issue, it did seem to take awhile to get out the door, plus the breakdown of the stroller + baby afterwards)  How do you keep your baby warm?  How do you keep their hands warm, as those got the coldest.  I keep wondering how I could do this before work, then get us both ready.  I have some flexibility to go in later, but I can’t show up too late, as I still have to put in my hours.   I am determined not to quit my weekday runs if Mike goes out of town.  He is only going a few days this time, but it can be for a couple weeks sometimes.   So please leave me a comment and let me know what you do.  I have considered going after work, but there is already so much going on:  dinner, bath, bottle prep for the next day, etc.   Thanks in advance to anyone who can offer me some tips.