Thursday, May 31, 2018

Summer Run Streak, Day #7

No time for coffee this morning, and ended up dragging all day. Quick 15 minute nap when I got home, and then we were out to dinner tonight.

Crammed in a 1 miler tonight to keep the streak alive. I'm weary of doing that because I know from past efforts that too many one mile runs in a streak means I'm less likely to complete the streak at all, and I have a lofty goal in terms of days. Hopefully in the next few days I'll find a way to manage some more miles, but I'm just very tired.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Summer Run Streak, Day #6

Long, long day.

Actually did OK on sleep last night, but a long day at work coupled with some errands, chasing around the toddler, and then doing bedtime had me really doubting my ability to go out and run.

Still, at about 930 I got out and covered 1.3 miles. I know that isn't an impressive distance. It was all I could handle tonight. The weather wasn't too bad, pretty mild with a decent humidity.

I'll have to see what tomorrow looks like weather wise, and also when I can get out to run. We have plans for dinner, so it should make things interesting.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Summer Run Streak, Day #5

Easy 3.7 tonight after bedtime for the kiddos. They went to bed a bit earlier, so I got to run a bit early. Not the best night's sleep last night, but hey. What can you do.

Put some mouldable rubber on the bottom of an old pair of five fingers, hoping to extend their life (or really make them zombie shoes.) to mildly satisfactory effect. Lost one of the bits of rubber, but overall the shoes held up OK. Not sure I'll keep trying that, but hey, it was worth a shot. I like the sandals I've been running in, but I'm soon to be in a place where it will help me to extend the life of each pair of shoes I own. Not to say I won't be able to buy new running shoes, but I definitely need to be more considerate of the budget when it comes to gear and races.

As I work my way back into running I'm finding I need to get my food habits back in check. A couple of weeks of junk food around the stress and joy of a new baby, and I haven't gained a ton of weight or anything, but I definitely am feeling off. Need to get back to more vegetables and certainly more water.

Now to try and cram in a few hours of sleep before continuing the adventure!

Monday, May 28, 2018

Summer Run Streak, Day #4

Easy two miles tonight. In the sandals, my pace is much better, so we'll see if I manage to throw more barefooting in what that does for my form.

Ended up going out again after a fitful bedtime for the toddler. Took almost two hours for her to fall asleep. Pretty rough only because by the time she's asleep I'm usually pretty wiped too, but I'm still managing to drag myself out for the miles, and I'm enjoying them.

Made bratwurst and sauerkraut tonight for dinner, with a recipe from a friend in the social club. Excellent stuff. Haven't been drinking a ton, so my weight is pretty good, but I definitely threw that off a bit today, as I had a few drinks to blow off some steam. Overall I feel pretty good, though, so hopefully I don't pay for it too much when I look at the scale tomorrow. One of the things that's really thrown me off with baby #2 is that I'm much less regimented about my meals than I was before. I'll need to get back on that before too long, because I have actual performance goals to meet at the end of July.

Starting to feel the itch for marathon training again. I'm not sure when the next one will be, because I'm honestly not sure I can afford the time training for a marathon this summer with the two little ones. It's something I may talk to my wife about, though, because my legs are getting hungry for the miles again.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Summer Run Streak, Day #3

According to my fitness tracker, got 7 hours of sleep last night.

But it sure didn't feel like that.

Woke up a bit past 7am, went and got some very hipster donuts with the wife and kiddos. And some much needed coffee. We were expecting a massive storm today that didn't (quite) materialize, although we got a little bit of rain. Almost forgot to run, and went out at about 10pm for one mile.

As it was raining and I really didn't want to go, I opted to do the mile barefoot. I should do more barefoot work than I do, as it really helps my form. My form has gotten sloppy in the sandals, which means that I'm wearing them out unevenly. A bit of barefooting would (hopefully) keep me honest and mean that I could keep them going for a few more races. Although, honestly, I'm happy with the way the sandals are going anyway, and I have no plans to retire them soon.

Barefooting also means I run slower, because I'm dealing more with the feeling of the ground. It isn't so much that it's painful, but it's just so much feedback in terms of tactile sense. Anyway slower means easier on the heart rate and breathing, too, so it isn't so bad. It's comfortable running even if it isn't fast.

Hopefully some nice weather in the next couple of days which is when I'll get in my longer run. I'm still sort of keeping in the back of my mind the idea of doing a quick 13.1 miles for that Strava challenge, but we'll see. If the right day doesn't come I'm also not going to beat myself up for it. I've done that before, and I'll do it again whether or not I earn a "digital badge" for the trouble. I've also got plenty of races coming up (6/9, 6/24) to stay fresh for.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Summer Run Streak, Day #2

Very nearly didn't run tonight. Helped do bedtime, and almost fell asleep myself.

Got out after bedtime and covered about 6.3 miles. Took it really easy. My guess is my heart rate was pretty low when I almost fell asleep, so it was harder for my heart rate to get into a decent groove during the run. Was also very humid out, and we're waiting for a big thunderstorm to break the heat tomorrow. I'm hoping it doesn't rain all day tomorrow so I can cover some distance then, too. If I have to, though, I'll just do the mile tomorrow and cover my longer distance when the weather is nicer.

Think the toddler will let me sleep in tomorrow? Yeah, me neither.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Summer Run Streak, Day #1

Summer run streak starts today for me. Traditionally I start it a bit before memorial day as we have some big traditions at work, so I'll run this streak from today until the first day of September (or possibly longer.) Last year's run streak went to 107 days, and I didn't blog each run as I do during the winter. I think I'm going to try blogging each run again, because among other things, it keeps me in the habit of syncing my watch at my computer.

Otherwise I'd likely not come down to my office at all.

Goal wise I'm starting on a training plan now. It's a half marathon plan, but I'm adapting certain things because the goal race I really want to be trained for is the Blessing of the Fleet, which is a 10 mile road race in Narragansett, RI. The course is extremely nice, I know it well because I've run the race a few years in a row now. My PR on the course is a 1:16, so under that will take a lot of effort but I'm confident after the performance I had at Angry Unicorn that I can do something pretty impressive if I'm willing to do the work.

Tonight was an easy three miles just to get moving again. Had amounted about 16k steps at work, along with 31 flights of stairs (on the fitbit) so I was really just looking to keep loose. Tomorrow is an hour run on the plan, and then Sunday is an hour and a half run. I may actually stretch that out and attempt a sub-2 half marathon run, because there's a challenge on Strava I want the badge for, and Angry Unicorn didn't measure out right for me on my GPS.

I've renewed my membership with half fanatics, too, so I may also throw in some random HMs this summer, if my wife lets me, in order to keep myself entertained on my long runs. I love the site and tracking the races and stuff, but I have to admit a certain degree of guilt over only using the discount codes once or twice. Maybe I can use them more this year.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Baby #2

Last week was a real whirlwind. My wife had contractions on and off throughout the weekend, and we had gone in Saturday when they were five minutes apart and regular only to be sent home. We were both very concerned, and also annoyed because each of these times required us to call in favors from folks in our support net, and you can't take favors back and it's hard to apologize for inconveniencing people.

After Saturday, Daughter #1's god parents came down to stay with us for awhile in case anything happened. Sure enough the next morning I awoke at 3:51 to hear my wife on the phone with the OB. She was explaining that she was in a large amount of pain, but concerned they would send her home again. We headed into the hospital, and after about an hour on the monitor and another hour waiting we were escorted up to the labor and delivery room.

The LDR is a really interesting place. Completely devoid of windows, with lighting that can range from incredibly bright for whatever procedures are going on to very dim so you can sleep, I've really never experienced sensory deprivation quite like it. There is a constant buzz of white noise and an array of different beeps from the machines.

My wife got her pain meds pretty early into our time in the LDR (within a half hour, I'd say) and then we were off to play the waiting game as we waited for the contractions to get ready for showtime. We amused ourselves by reading the original German to Schiller's Ode to Joy, listening to a variety of music, and watching Sorkin's the West Wing. I won't say the time went quickly, as in the moment it really seemed to drag like the night before a big snow storm, waiting anxiously for a snow day.

Several hours later, about 2:41 daughter #2 was brought into the world. She's beautiful, and so strong already. A couple of hours after her birth we were escorted up to the recovery room, and I was amazed to see the sunlight. Our first daughter was born in the winter, but being that we are still in Spring the sunset is much later, and we got some sunlight. After we got settled in I headed home to pick up Daughter #1 and the god parents (along with dinner) so we could head to the hospital. We didn't want to bring many people to the hospital this time, as the rooms are quite small and there are frequently people in and out to do different things.

A quick note here, too, about how amazing all of the staff at that hospital are. The labor/delivery nurses, the nurses in the rooms. Just outstandingly compassionate and professional people. Our doctors and pediatricians are very good, too, of course, but we chose them (or at least their practices) so we knew what to expect. The hospital staff was just incredible.

Watching my two girls meet was really something. D1 was in total awe of getting to hold the baby (with some assistance, of course) and the look on her face is pure joy. She's very gentle, and even though some things about our new reality are frustrating to her, she really does love the baby. She has opinions for her, in fact (something my wife predicted.)

So far things seem to be a bit easier. I imagine a part of that is having some experience in this area already, and also the fact that kids are certainly different. We've had many wake ups through the course of a night, of course, but D2 is easy to soothe and will go back to sleep after a fresh diaper, etc. Overall I think my wife and I are better rested than we were at this point last time around, but we've had people here willing to help, and not who needed to be entertained.

One of D1's god parents stayed to help us out too, with the transition home but also my transition back to work. It has been really nice to have the support, so I haven't worried (as much) about the house, cleaning, laundry, and cooking. I'm still doing some cooking and cleaning, of course, but it is really nice to have the extra hands. It's nice, too, to have someone around to talk to while the other is taking a sleep shift. I'm ever grateful for the support network I've got, and I am looking forward to repaying the favor to all of them as they grow their families.

I've not been running for about two weeks. I basically took last week off from work and training so that we could have a smooth transition home, although I'm going to try to build up some work this week because this is officially when my training for my July 10 miler starts. For now, back to work for me. It will be a pretty long day, too, as I've got some late meetings. Here's to hoping things continue to be smooth....

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Holding Pattern

And all my instincts, they return  
and the grand facade so soon will burn
--Peter Gabriel, In Your Eyes


We're rapidly approaching yet another life change. I feel strange, like I'm floating down stream into some rapids, but oddly confident. I suppose we'll see when the time comes, but I think it's safe to say I'm cautiously optimistic.

I am feeling the support of my network of friends much more, and earlier this time. This is owing largely to the fact that they all remember what happened last time around, and also that I've been in much closer contact about what we'll need and what I can reasonably ask for in terms of help. I've been doing my best these last couple of years to do every favor asked of me. I know I'll need to call them in soon enough.

The arrival of this baby will also be just before summer, when we'll be off from teaching. That's a good thing, I think. We can be more free with our sleep cycles in terms of timing, and I shouldn't have to rush to hold any schedule other than my racing schedule, which is intermittent throughout the summer. We have a friend coming to stay with us for a bit as well, and that should help quite a bit while I'm still at work so my wife can get some sleep.

I'm worried about the post-partum anxiety and depression. That wasn't a great thing last time, but we have the benefit of knowing the signs and being able to catch them early. I'm worried for my own ability to survive the transition as well, but all I can do is breathe deep and look inward for a sense of patience. We only get to do this once, and I know someday I'll miss it.

I'm also worried for my oldest child that she'll remember the bad moods we can be in when we're sleep deprived, that she might take something personally. I know it's absurd and probably a minuscule concern but I don't want her to be upset or hurt by something I say or do. I'm going to have to be more deliberative in how I interact with everyone, so that will surely be an added pressure. 

Earlier this week we sold our second car (which was a sort of sports coupe, and not really a great car for car seats and multiple kids). We took our daughter for a ride in it at night, so she could check out the sun roof, and then we said goodbye to it. We're into a different phase of our lives, so we needed something to fit that. Ended up getting a minivan. I know there are a lot of feelings around that in the parenting world, but I've had minivans before and always loved the ability to haul a large amount of stuff when needed. Additionally, some of the most fun I've had on road trips have been in those cars.

So we're entering "the minivan years" I guess, but I feel OK about it. Partly it also means that my car will be more available to me for races, as I used to be able to get up early, drive to a race and sleep in the back until start time. Those days will be fewer now, obviously, but maybe I can still sneak some in here and there.

I'm expecting this may be my last post on the blog as a father of one. I think I'm ready, at least, I feel ready. I feel like it wasn't that long ago we were doing all this for our first kiddo, although obviously two years ain't nothing.

I'm a big Peter Gabriel fan. I've heard him talk about one of his best known songs, "In Your Eyes" and how the song is about acceptance in a relationship. I feel like that acceptance theme is relevant in my life right now -- I don't really wish I was younger. I'm in a place where I'm thoroughly happy in my existence. Kids want to grow up, old folks maybe yearn to be younger (that's the trope, anyway) but I'm OK with where I am. No third decade crisis (not yet anyway).

I see the doorway
To a thousand churches
The resolution
Of all the fruitless searches
Oh, I see the light and the heat
In your eyes
--Peter Gabriel, In Your Eyes

I'm hoping to set my running goal for a ten miler I do in late July each year. I'm hoping it keeps me dedicated to eating well, trying not to snack constantly for my hits of dopamine. I am planning to modify a half marathon plan, because with the shorter distance I'll need to get more speed work in than I will usually do. Ideally, I'll also work in a mid-day mile so that I'll also be heat acclimated, just in case. But I've run this race many times before and in a dramatic variety of conditions so no matter what happens I'm confident I can cover the distance in a respectable time.

I have a half marathon tomorrow morning. It will be my second time running at the Angry Unicorn running festival, which I'm excited for. Its a nice course, hopefully the weather will end up OK. I'd like to cover the distance in under two hours, and I should be in shape to do that pretty comfortably. I haven't been running much this week what with all the things I have to do around the house, but hopefully that won't hurt me too much.