Tuesday, October 26, 2010

worry

Well it's been a week since my last post. Not sure how that happened. My mom wants me to post pictures, but this isn't that post. That post will come soon. Promise.

Today's post is brought to you by Worry. Oh, I worry. I worry about getting it right. I worry about saying the wrong thing. I worry about saying the right thing and it being taken the wrong way. I worry about tone of voice. I worry about miscommunication. I worry about a lot of really petty things. I worry about things I said or did a week ago, a year ago, five years ago. I worry because those words and actions still seem too alive to me. A little too present. I worry when there are bumps in my relationships, when things feel off. Sometimes I worry about what others think of me, as they know me. I worry about sudden death, but not as often as I could. I worry about being good. I worry about intentions. I worry that I am not transparent enough. I worry about terrorist attacks very little. Instead I worry about the terrible drivers here. I rarely worry about money, but I do worry about the quality of our life experiences. I worry that dinner will burn. I worry because you didn't email me back. Something must be wrong. I worry that halfway around the world, life is unraveling and I won't hear about it until tomorrow.

So today I was writing in my writing notebook (getting back into the regular practice of writing), and worrying about a situation that has worried me for months. And I got to a point in my writing when I thought: I have worried this all before. Telling the same old story.

And then I thought: I just want to be done. I have thought this before - I just want to be done - about different blocks or hurdles or mountains in my life. I have thought this before about Worry. I. Just. Want. To. Be. Done. So then I spent a good page writing about why I just want to be done with Worry, free. Replacing worry with peace or confidence. I thought about what God says about worry - essentially: don't bother with it - and wonder still:

Why is it easier to worry than not? Oh, I am a Work In Progress.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

homesick

First, let me tell you I will be more bloggy. At least one post a week. I think I can manage that. Now: homesick.

My friend is heading home for a month, very soon. The other night we were talking with her and her husband about the break they'd get from Kuwait. She is planning to go for nice, long, slow runs. Outside. In beautiful country. Run one for me, I think.

And this morning on the treadmill, I thought about Wisconsin running and my favorite routes - some of which I may never run again, but still replay, still miss.

Sometimes I think about moving back to the States, but like my friend and her husband - and many of our friends abroad - we still aren't ready. The odd thing is that when I think of returning to the States, when I feel homesick for the States, I am missing something different from what I left behind.

I don't want to return to where we lived before. We joke about how much we like our college town, except that it's also Justin's hometown and we don't want to live next door to parents. (Now, watch that happen in ten years). Instead, I idealize places I've driven through or read about, states my abroad friends are from. When my brother was in college, Justin and I visited him in Minneapolis and those few weekend trips are the entire basis of my thinking that the Cities would be a great place to live. A book of gorgeous pictures showing Maine through her seasons - a book I picked up at the library maybe ten years ago - still has me thinking coastal Maine would be the perfect spot to live. Mountainous Colorado or drizzly Portland sound nice. An  international school in Boston told us to keep them in mind when we were ready to return to the States: we'd be broke, but living in Cambridge. And I once drafted a letter to the Canton, New York school district to inquire about teaching jobs for Justin and me because I saw enough of the town on a long, rainy morning run while on our honeymoon, heading for Canada - I saw enough of the town to think we could live there, happily. Maybe we will yet.

The thing is, I can close my eyes and picture myself in too many places for one life.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

running during second pregnancy

I posted periodic running updates during my second pregnancy, but here is a quick recap:

Running through my second pregnancy was different from running through my first pregnancy. I was very pleased with my running during my first pregnancy and surprised that I was able to continue as long as did, stopping a week and a half before Claire was born. This time, I ran through the end and actually managed a five mile run the day my labor began. Running through my second pregnancy felt smoother than with my first: I had way fewer aches or pains and no injuries. I think there are two main reasons for this:

First, I didn't immediately drop my pace or miles when I became pregnant. I continued with my regular running of forty to fifty miles a week, averaging mile times in the low eights or high sevens. I kept my running comfortable and didn't push too much beyond. When I began teaching and had to get up early, I became too tired to manage a daily run in the morning and too drained to do much in the afternoon; that's when I began cutting miles to about thirty or so a week. After the first trimester, I added a few of those miles back and spent most of my pregnancy maintaining forty miles a week, sometimes just under and sometimes just over. During the last two months of pregnancy, I ran around thirty or thirty-five miles a week.

I did see my "feel good" daily run drop from nine to seven miles. I was fine with that. Near the end, I found it much easier physically and psychologically to run one day long (seven or eight miles) and one short (five miles), resting every two days.

With my first pregnancy, I ended with pace in the ten minute mile range. This time, I was able to keep my mile times just under nine minutes. I decided to run what felt best. Sometimes going slower feels more difficult.

During the second trimester especially, my running felt unencumbered. I loved feeling my body move in a familiar, energetic way. This is partly due to the second reason why I found running through this pregnancy to be smoother: I ditched the maternity support belt.

Near week thirty during my first pregnancy, I began wearing a support belt while running. This time I had the belt, but thought I'd wait until my belly felt too heavy. And then I decided to not bother at all. Not wearing the belt forced me to be attuned to my posture and stride while running, and to check in with my lower ab muscles. At no point did I feel like my belly was too heavy to run.

Though I did feel ridiculous sometimes, stepping on the treadmill with my moon of a belly, running when I couldn't see my shoes. Every runner has to talk themselves into getting out there at some point. What I knew (still know) is that running feels good. Give me an endorphin kick. Give me an hour alone.

I did become a little concerned about the effect running might be having on my weight gain. I only gained fifteen and a half pounds this pregnancy, about four pounds less than with Claire - though I delivered Grant two weeks early, while Claire was a week late. During the last month with Grant, I gained almost nothing despite cutting some miles. I am not sure that it was primarily running that affected my weight gain. I continued to eat well (a lot), but also had a toddler to chase. During my first pregnancy, I had the luxury of laying around more. Still, Grant's ultrasounds showed that he was gaining weight even if I was not.

Postpartum Weight and Running (So Far)

I am not sure what I weigh. I have my six week checkup soon and I'll find out then. I do know that my body did exactly what it did after Claire: dropped a lot of weight in the first two or three days, and then puffed out. My body is holding fat reserves for nursing - in fact, my body gained fat that wasn't there during pregnancy. Which means I cannot button my favorite pants yet. Maybe in another month or two or three.

Oh well.

I am back to running. I waited two weeks before beginning and then began slowly. Peed my pants through the first two kilometers I ran (oh, those pesky stretched out pelvic floor muscles!). I am now five weeks postpartum and running five or eight miles five times a week. My pace remains just under nine minute miles and though I am tempted to pick it up, I have no reason to, and do not want to risk injury. Now that the weather here is cooling, I am looking forward to getting outside for more runs. Until then: my treadmill, my friend.