What Eva Wore to Her First Day of "School"

Hello

How's the Running Going?

You may be wondering why I haven't blogged much about running lately.  Well, I haven't been running.  Not much anyway. 

After completing the half a few weeks ago, I have felt relieved not to be bound (and guilted) by a training schedule.  I took the entire week following the race off to regroup and readjust my mental approach to running.  I still like to use a training program to help guide my runs and workouts for the week, so I figured I'd look into a 5K training plan that includes some speedwork with weekly long runs that average no more than about 7 or 8 miles.  Not having any races upcoming though has kept me from really sticking to a regular workout routine, running or otherwise.

So the second week after my race, I got out there for a couple of 3 or 4 milers and did the 30 Day Shred video once.

Last week I did Zumba once and...nothing else.  I had good intentions for getting a run in but it just never happened.

I am half tempted to sign up for another race just to motivate myself to get out there and do the miles.  But, at the same time, I'd really just rather find the motivation from within because I still need to work on getting back to my pre-baby fitness level and I don't think signing up for another race is really going to accomplish that.  A steady, consistent workout plan will.

It's not really fair to blame my laziness on the weather, but I will anyway because, hey its almost May for Pete's sake and I'd like some sunshine and 60-70 degree temps please!  The month of April, while there have been some really nice days, has felt more like March and I am sooooo tired of overcast, windy 50 degree days and rain.  Sooooo tired of it!

Ironically, I finally lost all 42 lbs of my baby weight and am back to my pre-baby weight.  Now I just have to lose that 10 lbs I was wanting to get rid of before I got pregnant.  Ha!

First Day of Daycare

Well, today is Eva's first day at daycare and it has not been quite as hard on me as I had feared.  At least, dropping her off today went fine. 

Since I go in at noon today, I planned to take Eva up there around 11am so I had time to get her stuff put up and stay for a little bit to help her adjust.  I was running late though because I was trying to get her to take a nap and she was fighting it (something that she has really gotten into of late) and so it took me a while to get her settled.  She ended up sleeping for all of about 10 minutes, if that.

Anyway, once I got there and unloaded the rest of her supplies, I pulled her out of her car seat carrier and held her while she surveyed the room.  All of the other babies were playing in various parts of the room as Alvin and the Chipmunks sang their rendition of some Top 40 song from a few years ago in the background.  At first she didn't want me to put her down, but intense interest in another 6 month old girl in a bouncy seat made her decide that it would probably be okay if I put her down as long as I sat close.

One of the teachers brought over a toy, and Eva was interested, but shy and she turned her head into my arm and leaned toward me like she wanted me to pick her back up.  Instead of picking her up though, I just put my arm around her and took the toy, holding it up so she could examine it further.  She took the toy from me and pretty much forgot about me after that!

I sat on the floor nearby while she worked her way across the play mat, grabbing toys and interacting with a couple of the other babies.  It's a good thing Eva doesn't have much hair because there is a little 9 month old baby there that was grabbing at her head while she pushed herself towards a rubber block toy.

After about 20 minutes, I was satisfied that Eva was enjoying herself and probably wouldn't have even noticed if I left.  I gave her a quick kiss on the head and loaded up my things to leave.  As I walked out and closed the door behind me, I looked back through the door glass to see what Eva's reaction was.  She had seen me leave, but seemed to be fine, as one of the teachers had noticed she had lost one of her socks, and picked her up into her lap to put it back on for her.

So, that was that.  I headed into work with nary a tear and I am anxiously hoping that when I go to pick her up here in 30 minutes, I find a happy little girl who is as excited to see her Mommy as her Mommy is to see her!

Tuesday picture post

Sleepy baby butt.

Extreme Couponing!

I have been watching this Extreme Couponing show for a week or so now and I am both disgusted and inspired all at the same time.  Is that even possible?

If you haven't seen this show before, it is a showcase of OCD behavior where people brag about how many boxes of toothpaste and rolls of toilet paper they have gotten for free and subsequently stockpiled in their basements, closets, under children' beds, etc.  Many of these folks spend hours a week clipping coupons and working up spreadsheets to determine where the sales are so they can swoop in a wipe a store out of dental floss for pennies on the dollar. 

Shopping trips take hours to plan and execute, with carts of groceries being divided up into separate transactions just so multiple coupons can be applied.  I can't help but feel sorry for those grocery clerks who are watched like a hawk while ringing up 80 containers of yogurt, then 100 coupons for said yogurt. 

On a show I DVR'd and watched during lunch the other day, one woman boasted of her stash of hundreds of packages of diapers--SHE HAS NO CHILDREN!  She says that some day she will have kids and then she'll be prepared.  Well, first off, good luck finding someone to spawn with.  Don't show them your basement stockpile of diapers before the 2nd date, okay?  And second of all, I hope you end up liking that particular brand of diapers when the time does come to cover up your little one's bum. 

As a new mom, I also thought it was a good idea to buy some large packages of diapers while I was pregnant in preparation for the baby's arrival, only to discover that the kind of diapers I bought didn't fit my daughter's skinny little behind very well.  I tried 4 or 5 different brands but kept coming back to Pampers (the diapers they gave us in the hospital coincidentally) because they just worked so much better on Eva than any of the others we tried.  Now I am brand loyal, even though I had no intentions on being so and I have over 100 diapers in my closet that I need to donate. 

That's another pet peeve I have about some of the people featured on this show.  They are literally paying pennies for hundreds of dollars worth of groceries, many of which will take them years to use, if they even get around to using them at all.  Yet, I rarely see anyone discussing how they are donating anything to local food banks or shelters.  It makes me angry to think of how many families there are out there who can't afford to eat even one meal a day or who have to ration the diapers they have because they can't afford to do otherwise and have no means to spend the equivalent of a full time job couponing to obtain such items so cheaply.  I watched an episode where a husband and wife bought about $1200 worth of groceries for about $50 and as they wheeled their carts full of food out of the store, they bypassed a food donation barrel without a second glance. 

Wow, I am really getting myself worked up here.  Ha ha, anyway, I mentioned early in this post that I am also inspired by this show.  I love to use coupons and get deals on things as my husband can attest.  Now that we have a daughter, I feel the need to save money even more so than before.  I had a coupon organizer that I diligently stashed every relevant coupon I came across into, but it wasn't a very efficient way to keep track of my coupons and I kept missing out on deals.

The folks on this show seem to have developed really good systems for keeping up with their coupons so I decided to revamp mine and dabble in a little couponing myself.  By no means do I intend on becoming any more of a hoarder than I already am, and I promise that, should I be successful at this little foray into some level of "extreme couponing," I fully intend on giving away items that we cannot use within a reasonable amount of time.  I also refuse to buy things that we as a family don't use or need unless I plan to donate it all right off the bat.

Last night, we stopped by Staples so I could pick up a binder and some plastic protector sheets for my new coupon organizer.  In a later post, I'll post some pix and an update on how the new system is working for me but let me just tell you that, on our most recent trip to Target, I made a specific list of the things we needed (most of it for Eva) and gathered up all my relevant coupons, making sure to use both a store coupon and manufacturer coupon on the same items when I could, and we saved nearly $20 on our purchase, just from my savvy coupon use.  Not a bad start if you ask me!

Daycare

As I have mentioned before, I work full time as an assistant librarian.  I have been working in this library system for nearly 4 years, and have been an assistant manager for the last 2.  I had Eva in November of last year and was lucky enough to be able to take advantage of the full 12 weeks of leave, making it possible for me to stay home with her until she was 3 months old.  Since then, my neighbor Angie has been our nanny and the arrangement has been wonderful!  I get to go home and nurse Eva everyday at lunch, I don't have to get her dressed and packed up to go to daycare each day, and sometimes Angie even brings Eva up to the library to visit me!

This arrangement has only been meant to be temporary, however, as we have been on the waiting list at a daycare since JULY OF LAST YEAR!  I was 7 months pregnant with Eva at the time.  They originally told us an opening wouldn't be available until April, then it was July, then the last time I spoke with them it was August/September.  The reason for the delay is that siblings of children already enrolled in the daycare get priority over those of us who are just waiting to put one child in.  Also, this place is in a brand new facility and a very popular daycare because of its good reputation. 

Angie was agreeable to continue nannying for Eva through the summer, until an opening came available at the daycare.  I was fine with this as I like having Eva at home and I feel like she will benefit more from daycare when she is older and can be more social. 

Then yesterday, out of the blue, the daycare calls--they have an opening in 2 weeks!  Uh oh--I wasn't ready for that.  Even though Angie is willing to keep Eva for a while longer, it is risky to give up this spot in the daycare, as we'll get put back at the bottom of the waiting list if we decline now.  But man oh man, I wanted to wait!  I wanted Eva to be as close to one year old as I could get her before sending her off to daycare 40 hours a week.

After some serious discussion, Kyle and I decided we would go ahead and enroll Eva in the daycare now.  As my mommy heart breaks into a million little pieces, I cannot think of any other solution to this problem that will fit our needs now and in the future.  So I called today and we are set to pick up the enrollment paperwork this evening, go through the orientation next week, and then drop Eva off for her first day the following week.

And while it is way too easy for me to spout off all the negative thoughts that I have about this pending change, I am going to put effort into listing off all the positive aspects instead. 

  1. This daycare is AWESOME!  It is a brand new facility with great security and teachers that are certified and licensed to handle the age level of the children in their class.  It is clean, it is a regional office so there are frequent visits by the daycare administration to make sure the operations are in line with company policy and legal guidelines. 
  2. They are excited to enroll Eva into their infant program.  In all of my dealings with this daycare, and the multiple people I have spoken with, they are all friendly, positive, and welcoming.
  3. Even though it is expensive in general, this is one of the most affordable daycares we came across when we were doing our research and daycare visits last summer.
  4. It will be good for Eva.  I think she will enjoy being around other babies and interacting with other children.  She strikes me as a social butterfly so I feel like she will thrive in a daycare setting.  This facility plans certain activities that are appropriate for each age group they enroll, so she will hopefully benefit developmentally from the stimulation the daycare will provide.  Also, she will have a bit more structure to her feedings, naps, and play times during the day which will help us with our attempts at setting a schedule for her at home.
  5. Angie has agreed to continue being our back up childcare option, in the instance where Eva might be too sick to go to daycare.  This will keep us from using up our paid leave at work and it will give Angie her own life back, so she's not having to plan everything around watching Eva everyday.
I am sure there are other positives, but those are what I am trying to focus on at this time.  And really, this arrangement need not be permanent should we decide to explore other options in the future and that's what I have to remember.  Now is the time to give this a chance and if something isn't working, we can re-evaluate. 

So positive thoughts and vibes my way would be appreciated.  Man, what a hot mess I am going to be when its time for her to go to SCHOOL!

Crawling


It's all Eva wants to do. She can't do it just yet, but man she sure tries.  And she gets upset after a while of being unsuccessful. 

I suspect she'll figure it out soon though.  Look at what she's figured out how to do this week.


And she can rock back and forth before doing a face plant.  She's still not able to sit up all on her own, so I wonder if that needs to be learned before the crawling attempts will be successful. 

Thank goodness she hasn't learned how to pull up onto anything yet.  We'll have to make a lot of adjustments to her furniture when that happens. 



Kyle is not ready for her to be mobile yet. 



Split Times for Rock the Parkway Half

I can look at these split times and tell you exactly which miles I stopped at porta potties, that I sped up during mile 3 due to the fast 10K runners, that I had to wait in a short line for the porta potty in mile 5, that mile 7 was my worst mentally, that I walked a lot in mile 11 so I could store up enough energy to run all of mile 12 and 13 as fast as I could handle, and that seeing Kyle on the final .1 stretch slowed me down quite a bit before I hit the finish. 

For me, just looking at these splits helps me relive my race experience and I think that's  pretty cool.

Mile 1 - 12:55  (hanging with the pace group)
Mile 2 - 13:30  (got up ahead of pace group but stopped for potty break)
Mile 3 - 11:46  (dang 10K runners)
Mile 4 - 12:34  (slowing it back down to a comfortable pace)
Mile 5 - 14:54  (had to wait for an open porta potty)
Mile 6 - 11:55  (things are still going okay)
Mile 7 - 13:17  (wait, I am only halfway done? uh oh)
Mile 8 - 12:02  (not as slow as this felt)
Mile 9 - 12:39  (man I need a porta potty, if I keep running, I'll get to it sooner)
Mile 10 - 11:20 (I must have seen the porta potty on the horizon and booked it there)
Mile 11 - 14:15  (post bathroom break, feeling good, resting up to run the rest w/o anymore walk breaks)
Mile 12 - 10:51 (time to get this show on the road)
Mile 13 - 9:12  (I ain't playin')
Lap 0.1 - 11:18 (Hey there's Kyle, let me smile for my picture, okay done!)

Rock the Parkway Half Marathon Race Report

I know the burning question right now is did I really embark on the half marathon I waffled so much about and if so, did I finish?

The answers are yes and...



...Yes!  I finished!  It was rough, but I did it.  I am happy with myself for sticking it out and finishing what I started months ago when Eva was still a sleepy 2 month old and I was anxious to set my sights on a race to train for.

Kyle's parents came into town on Friday night, so the plan was for them to watch Eva while we ran our respective races bright and early on Saturday morning.  Kyle was registered for the 10K and had picked up both of our race packets that day on his lunch hour.  I got a tech tee for participating in the Half, and it is pretty cool: black and fitted for a female body as opposed to those big, square tees that are supposed to be unisex, but really just fit men well. 

I set out everything I planned to wear the next day and got Gary the Garmin and Shufalufagus on their chargers.  Then I went to bed around 9.  My race was set to begin at 7:30am and Kyle's race would start 15 minutes later at 7:45.  We live about 30-45 minutes away from the starting line, so the plan was to get up whenever Eva woke me for her early morning feeding aroudn 5ish.  Just in case she decided to sleep through the night and not wake me up to nurse, Kyle set his alarm for 5:45am as a back-up. 

Just as expected, Eva woke me up around 5:10am for her feeding and Kyle and I got up and started to get ready.  I had hoped that Eva would stay asleep for a while, since she normally doesn't wake until 6:30 at the earliest, but since she was in our room with us, it was inevitable that she stirred and woke around 5:30am instead.  After breakfast of oatmeal, oj, a banana, and a cup of coffee, we headed out to the race.


By the time we found a parking spot, took last minute potty breaks, and  hiked over to the starting line, I only had to wait about 8 minutes until the start of my race.  Perfect. 

The half organizers secured volunteers from a local running group to be pacers for the race, so I figured I'd line up with the 2:45 pace group to start and see how I felt after a few miles in.  I still planned on getting a drink at each aid station and walking through each one to help me reserve energy to finish strong at the end of the race, but I thought I might keep myself from pushing too hard if I hung with the pace group for a while to start off. 

The 2:45 pace group was towards the back of the pack.  I am pretty sure the slowest pace group at the very back was the 3 hour group.  I was nervous, but I felt comfortable with where I had positioned myself among pace groups.  I knew I wouldn't be breaking any speed records but I didn't feel like I would need 3 hours to complete the distance either.  Although the weather was beautiful and expected to warm to about 70 degrees later in the day, at 7:30am it was about 39 and my hands were FREEZING! 

I didn't really hear the start of the race, but I could see up ahead that the pack was moving forward.  It only took me about 3 1/2 minutes to get to the start and I was off!  The pace group strategy was to start with about a 13 min/mile pace for the first 3 miles or so.  I had no trouble staying with the pace group and to my delight, the crowd thinned out quickly as everyone settled into their own paces.  This is very unlike any of the other, shorter races I had done previously, as those tended to take a mile just to get past the walkers who lined up in the wrong place and chose to walk side by side down the middle of the street.

The race route took us through some really beautiful, older neighborhoods with giant houses, so the run was very scenic.  After a mile or so, I really felt like my slow pace was faster than 13 min/miles.  I was hestitant to give in to my desire to speed up because I knew I had another 12.1 miles to go, but I felt comfortable cruising up just in front of the 2:45 group and within sight of the 2:40 group up ahead.  This is where I hung out for most of the next 5 miles of the race.  The first water station was just shy of the 2 mile mark and I already had to hit the porta potty thanks to the coffee I had earlier.  I am a super-fast pottier though, thanks to all the practice I got while pregnant with Eva, so I was in and out of there quickly.  I walked for about a minute as I drank my water from the aid station.  I felt good and my hands were no longer cold as the day warmed up quickly.   I got a little annoyed when the faster 10K race runners passed in miles 2 and 3, as their pace made me unconsciously speed up for about a mile or so. 

I stopped to potty at the 2nd aid station as well, and again I walked for about a minute while I drank my water.  Gatorade was available too, but I have never drank Gatorade while on a run before, I didn't want to risk tearing up my stomach like I did with the granola bar on my 10 mile training run a week ago. 

It was around mile 6 when I started a chain of negative thinking that made the next 3.5 miles grueling and slow.  I remember thinking that if I had run the 10K instead, I'd be done by now.  Then followed the realization that I wasn't even halfway done yet.  Then I started to feel really tired and slow.  I had passed the 3rd set of porta potties without stopping and so then I started to regret that decision.  Then I got passed by a guy running with a double jogging stroller.  I fell behind the 2:45 pace group and the 2:50 pace group.  Then I got passed by a guy running with a dog.  When I stopped to walk around mile 7, I got passed by a speed walker.  That's right, there was a lady speed walking the half marathon.  She had on all the technical running gear and with her hair pulled back into a tight braid, she diligently checked her sports watch every now and then to make sure she was on pace.

It was during this 3.5 mile stretch that I did a lot of walking alternating with running.  So basically I would run past the speed walker and five minutes later she would speed walk past me.  Then when I was ready to run, I would jog past her and lo and behold, a few minutes later she would pass me again.  All ideas I had about finishing times went out the window at this point.  I just wanted to get to a porta potty and make it to the finish line before they closed the course.  Finally, around mile 8, there was another set of porta potties and I was relieved, literally and figuratively.

That relief didn't last long.  And this is probably getting to be TMI, so feel free to skip if you want.  But when I drink coffee, and I am sure many of you are the same way, I require some extra bathroom time a little later on.  I didn't get that time before the race for no other reason than my body wasn't ready for it.  Well, at mile 8.5 it was ready.  And I didn't see a porta potty coming up soon.  Running only made it worse, but I knew walking would only make it take longer to get to the next set of porta potties. 

Soon, thoughts of "I really don't want to have to do this in a porta potty" became "I've gotta do this in a porta potty!"  I persevered, and made it to the last set of porta potties around mile 9.75.  Without anything to read, I was in and out of there fairly quickly with a renewed sense of hope.  I saw the 10 mile marker up ahead and someone had made a sign that said "Just think of a half marathon as a 5K race with a 10 mile warmup."  This made me laugh and I realized that I only had 3.1 miles left, and hey, I know how to run a 5K!   

So I ramped it up and found the energy I thought I had lost forever back at mile 6.  I passed the guy with the dog and the guy with the double jogging stroller (who was now walking).  I passed the 2:50 pace group.  Around mile 12, I passed the 2:45 pace group.  I never saw the speed walker again.  I pushed and I pushed and I crossed the finish line with a time of 2:43:02.2. 



As they handed me my finishers medal and Kyle found me wandering around, I was both excited and relieved to be done.  I also need to sit down because man, I just spent nearly 3 hours on my feet.
Of course, my stomach twisted up and caused me distress for the next hour or so after the race and my legs and feet started aching so much I couldn't really get comfortable until I took one of the super-duper ibuprofens the hospital gave me when I gave birth to Eva.  But I finished and I did finish strong, just as I had wanted to.

Now what lessons have I learned from this valuable life experience?  I know they say this about the full marathon, but I think it applies to the half as well: respect the distance.  That means that, while I will likely do other half marathons in the future, I will not sign up for another until I feel like I have the time to dedicate to the necessary training.  And I have absolutely no interest in doing a full marathon.  Ever. 

I also learned that I have a lot more potential to accomplish things physically and mentally than sometimes I give myself credit for.  This race was not all about physical endurance.  It had a lot to do with how I approached it mentally, and I can pinpoint exactly when my mental state took a nosedive and started dictating how my body would perform.

And finally, I have discovered that being pregnant and birthing a baby has completely rearranged my insides.   

If you have made it to the end of this long post, congrats to you.  I will post my splits later on when I have a chance to upload my Garmin info to a computer.

Random List of Thoughts

Today, I don't have one particular topic I want to write about, so here is a random list of things I am thinking about.

  1. The half marathon is tomorrow.  I feel much better about my potential to run this race strong since I finally made the concrete decision that I would run it and not drop down to the 10K instead.  I have done 2 short, easy runs this week as part of my taper: a 2 miler on the treadmill on Tuesday and a 3 miler in the neighborhood last night.  My plan tomorrow is to take it way easy on the pace, take a substantial walk break at each aid station, which are supposed to be 1.5 to 2 miles apart, and just enjoy the weather and the fact that I am finally getting to run this distance that has been a goal of mine for a while now. 
  2. My in-laws are coming into town this weekend.  My MIL hasn't seen Eva since the end of January and my FIL hasn't seen her since Valentine's, so I know they are going to be surprised at how big Eva has gotten and how much personality she has developed in the past couple of months. 
  3. Today I ordered my bridesmaid's dress for my sister's upcoming nuptials on Memorial weekend.  Provided I like the dress and it fits well, then I just have to figure out shoes.  I think I am going to go with a pale pink, open toe pump to compliment the graphite color of the dress. 
  4. I have been breastfeeding Eva since she was born and today is her 5 month birthday.  I am kind of surprised at myself for being successful with breastfeeding and hanging in there this long.  While I do enjoy it and the bond that it has given me and Eva, the fact that I work full time and must pump at least 2 times a day is wearing on me.  I am considering starting the weaning process and I think I will do this gradually by replacing one feeding/pumping session with a bottle of formula each day for a week, until we are down to all formula while I am at work and nursing while I am at home.  My original goal was to breastfeed until Eva turned 6 months old.  We are one month shy of that goal but by the time I have her switched over to formula in my absence, she'll be right around 6 months.  I don't think I am ready to completely wean her from nursing, so I think that taking away the workday pumping and nursing sessions will be a good way to cut back without having to give it up entirely.  I have not set a date to actually start this transition though.  Come to think of it, this topic will warrant a lengthier post at a later date.
  5. I sure could use a vacation.  And by vacation, I mean a trip to a warm place with a beach, a swimming pool, and a bar. 
  6. The weather is finally warming up and I realize now, as I have about a million items of clothing piled up in the laundry room waiting for me to put them away, that I need to switch out my fall/winter clothes for my spring/summer ones.  Seeing as I can't even set aside the time I need to put the current laundry away after its washed, I am not sure when I'll dedicate the time necessary to switch out my closet and drawers.  I am tempted to donate it all and start over with all new clothes.  BUT, Kyle and I are working on Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace plan and I think Dave would have something to say about that. 
That's all I've got for now.  Wish me luck tomorrow.  And Kyle too--he is running his first 10K race tomorrow as well.