Sunday, November 1, 2015

Mount Desert Island Marathon…..1st blog post in 18 months…..

This is my first blog post in 1.5 years. And as I wrote it (before I saved it) it vanished so this is a re-do. A shortened, probably less funny re-do. Such a bummer. The first was fun and funny and I liked it. But now I'm starting over from scratch so I apologize if it sucks!! (I especially apologize to DT out in Denver CO, my most loyal reader!)

View from the hotel (Harborside)

Two weekends ago I left my beautiful 2.5 yr old daughter and my kind husband and travelled to Mount Desert Island (near Acadia National Park) to run a marathon. It was my first marathon since I had baby Z. At the time I signed up for it I thought it would be a "race". You know, where you train hard, and work hard through the race, and overcome some obstacles and persevere with a PR or something close to it at the end. But as the weeks passed and a total of 3 "long runs" (i.e. longer than 13 miles) with the rare mid-week run became what I called "training", I knew I needed a new plan. Combine that with cold/allergies/something is stuck in my chest since September 15th and well, race isn't the best word for that kind of situation.

I debated bagging the whole trip. The few weeks leading up to the trip were pretty rough on the homefront with Z solidly entering something that I assume is considered the "terrible twos", my work scheduling becoming crazy, and these mean mucus blobs taking up residence in my chest. I was honestly really looking forward to a few days away from the former two even though I knew the third would join me on the 10 hour journey from Illinois to Maine. To aid my decision to go or to stay I polled my friends at work, my husband, myself. Fall is a beautiful time in Illinois, why would I leave my family for a few hours of self-imposed torture?  In the end I decided that the best version of myself would do the race and PR. A very good version of myslef would do the race. A poor version of myself would give up and not go. So I went.

Race morning was perfect. B/t 35-50 degrees and sunny. Folks were in good spirits. Lots of mommies running with daddies and newborns/babies/toddlers spectating. Inspirational. All that jazz. During the first mile I was short of breath. Not that "I need more oxygen (or more correctly less CO2), I'm out of shape" short of breath. More like huge glubs of mucus are actually preventing me from moving air through my trachea. I've "raced" marathons with a head cold and done well. Chest congestion....a whole new beast. To make it worse, I feel pretty strongly that unless you are planning to run "fast" (which I have a loose definition of- me on a good day I'd consider "fast"), you really shouldn't be spitting and snorting on the course. If you are on a mission to a PR, go ahead and do what you gotta do (though the jury is still out on "poop if you gotta", cute tag line but EWW!). So I was coughing up (and then containing) a heathy dose of mucus (also EWW!).

So with breathing a problem in mile 1 and not letting up by mile 3 I needed to make a gameplan. I thought about quitting. I thought about this at miles 3, 5 and 10. At mile 10 I figured it was almost as close to the finish as the start so I might was well continue to make forward progress. When I thought about quitting I thought about the bad example that would set for Z. And my friends. And my colleagues. I'm not a quitter. So that was not reallly seriously entertained. But I had a decision to make. Was this going to turn into a horrible slogfest where I just got my 4 limbs from point A to point B, or was there another option?

Incredible leaves the entire course-
but not enough to keep despair at bay!
I decided I was going to enjoy this marathon. I realize some folks (GDN) probably think that is an oxy moron. But I thought I could find a way. I decided to treat this as a few hours outside in a beautful place. No pressure to run. No time pressure. I let go of the idea of getting a time I would be proud of. (Not hard to do when the pace group that would be your PR passes you at mile 3, but a bit harder when the pace group for some of your slowest marathons goes by). I walked up the hills. I raced down the hills (cuz THAT's fun!). I stopped and took lots of pictures. I walked whenever I felt like it. I did NOT look at my Garmin. I threw out all my mental games like run one song, walk one song, or run to that next tree or sign or person. I did whatever I wanted to do to ENJOY THE MARATHON!

Maybe others have already figured this out. But it was novel for me.

Even after I made this decision, I despaired. Marathoners know what I mean. That low grade despair that sets in in the early miles before the endorphins, when you've accomplisehd so little and have so many freakin' miles ahead of you. I despaired becuase while nice with leaves changing and all, the first 6 miles aren't all that special. 

Then I saw this:

All of a sudden, we were at the water. The beautiful ocean. Ahh! I rode high for a few miles, walking, running, listening to music, smiling. Things generally were okay. I did more running than was strictly "enjoyable" becuase I had other things to do with my day and I didn't want to be on the course forever. I really didn't want this running to get in the way of my nap, my massage and my wine and lobster that night. So I ran. I ran so I could nap. I'm not kidding. Really, if you don't have a nap on your vacation without your spouse and child, can you call the trip a success? The anwer is no.

Marathons are long, even when you are trying to have fun. I was that jerk who facetimed while on the course. Twice. (Tried to do it with no one around, I missed Z!!) Additionally, it is just plain cruel and unusual for miles 21-24 to be solidly uphill. No way to make that good. Best version of myself thought "this sucks and I'd like to die now". I don't really want to be friends with the person whose best version says "looks like a good challenge!" anyway.

I will say the spectators were good and I felt a bit guilty accepting their cheers. There was a very enthusiastic woman at mile 19 (which happens to be uphill and right along the road so I was mildly concerned about tripping and falling into the road) who was shouting "You are in CHARGE of this marathon! You are the BOSS of it! You show it who's in charge!". I felt like a fraud. "I'm doing this for fun, lady, I've tossed aside the idea of this being a test of endurance or physical prowess or whatever we usually do this sort of thing for". In reality I said "thank you".

So the big question is, will I do this again? Will I leave my family for a weekend to run a marathon I'm poorly trained for, albeit in a beautiful place? I don't think so. I had a good time. It was really important for me to do this race to maintain my identity as a marathoner and a person independent of "mom" "doctor" "spouse" etc. But I'd much prefer to fold a marathon into a family trip of some sort (which was the initial intention with this one anyway, just didn't work out). I don't even need them to spectate, I just want to travel with them and have dinner with them afteward (preferably after the massage and nap). I am trying to do all 50 states. I will eventually. But right now, I don't want to spare the time to train properly and while this marathon was a fun exception for me to let go and enjoy, that's not the way I generally set out to do marathons. I want to PR, I want to qualify for Boston. I need to train to do either.

The main reason I may not do another marathon for a while is the same reason I probably won't write another blog post for a while. Right now my life is very full. I want to spend time with my daughter, my husband, my family, my friends, shoot I even like my job right now. Training for marathons and writing blogs takes away from those things (or sleep, but I really need sleep). Maybe in a few weeks I'll change my mind. But for now, I'm going to get another glass of wine, some dessert and spend some time watching trashy TV. Maybe THAT'S what weekends away from daughter and husband are really for:)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Swimming with Babybison

Zooey and I started swimming lessons 4 weeks ago and it is SO FUN!!! She had been in the pool a few times before and seemed to enjoy it so we thought it would be fun to take lessons. She thrives on new experiences and social interaction and I thrive on playing with my Zo Zo and since there are swimming lessons on the pool in our basement we thought we would take full advantage. I am in no way a 'tiger mom' and I don't really believe that Zooey will become a stronger swimmer by nature of taking lessons so early (though Adam apparently convinced his colleague that this class with the British Swim School is the beginning of a prep program to get Z ready to swim the English Channel by the age of 17!), but the swim lessons are fully worth the money for the pure fun we have.

She's enjoyed it from day 1, splashing about and eagerly participating in the singing games, the drills and the playtime. She smiles sometimes, but mostly takes it all in looking around, observing.

Last week, Adam was lucky enough to come to class to watch (and take pictures!). I'm so glad he was able to participate in the fun and I thank him for the pictures in this post! That class, Zooey started spitting the water out of her mouth after going under water. We, of course, think she is a swimming genius:)

Today, Zooey was in rare form. It really seems like she has learned what to do and when to do it! Most of the drills start and end on the pool "wall" and we tell the kids to "hold on to the wall". Today, Zooey grabbed the wall and held on (actually tried to pull herself out of the pool!) every single time! She was comfortable putting her entire face under water. She LOVED the songs, as usual, clapping and chatting and even shouting with glee. How I LOVE holding my beautiful daughter while she shouts with glee. Swimming night is the BEST! (And, for my many friends with newborns and infants who are still a lot of work, NOW is when the rewards of having a baby become VERY CLEAR!!).

Zooey had a great time. I had a great time. But the best moment(s) of the night were when the teacher came by to have all the kids "give her 5" and Zooey put her hand up and gave her 5! Two separate times! She clearly knew what she was doing. She put out her hand and gave 5! My wonderful, almost 1 year old, sleeping through the night daughter has learned the social skill of giving 5. Really, really cool.

I'm absurdly equivalently proud that little Z has learned how to be deceitful. At school, Z has full reign of the daycare room which she LOVES. They are obviously not allowed to hit, or bite etc, but the room is theirs to explore. Except for the bins. The under the crib bins. Each kid has one with their extra clothes, coats, socks etc. The kids predictably want to pull out the bins and empty them, so the teachers use it as a chance to teach them "no". Last week, Corey (one of her primary teacher) noticed that Zooey was sitting very close to one of the cribs. She appeared to have her hand stuck between the bin and the cirb. She wasn't upset and she certainly wasn't crying. But whenever Corey looked over at her she would move her body over to hide her hand and wouldn't make eye contact. When Corey snuck a glance, Zooey was working hard to release her hand but just couldn't figure it out. Hilarious! Our sneaky little Z.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

First St Patrick's Day @ 11 months!!

Walking to the party!
We had a wonderful "unofficial" St Patrick's Day with Zooey on Saturday. She was all recovered from yet another ear infection so we spent the whole day out on the town!

We started at a St Patrick's Day brunch at Adam's coworker's house. It was an interesting and fun crew- Adam's colleagues (mostly all younger than us) and Adam's boss's college age sons and their friends (DEFINITELY younger than us).  Zooey was by far the youngest party-goer but she was quite the hit! She took the noise and the constant line up of smiling strangers grabbing her feet, hands and cheeks in stride and even smiled a few times. She went to town on melon and was fascinated by the candles. She really was a trooper. Adam and I decided that we really need to keep taking her to adult parties so she is used to behaving in that environment.

Next up was a quick car nap for Zooey before we moved on to the more child friendly part of the day- open play at Bubbles! Just like last time, Zooey was right at home, moving around and interacting with other kids with no fear. It's really fun to compare her to other kids. Our general sense is that she is a bit more physical and chatty than other kids. While she's not walking (there was an 11 month old there who was!) she constantly rolls/scoots/crawls around fearlessly over obstacles. She uses her feet like hands. She doesn't mind falling or hitting her head. Her teachers at school say she is very independent and talks all day- to herself, to other kids, to the teachers. Chatty, physical, portable, and fearless. That describes Z at 11 months!

Practicing walking.
Bubbles on her head at Bubbles Academy:)


After playgroup, we went to dinner. Z did really well considering this was the last stop in a long day! She ate some chips, some rice, some tortilla. She handled the really loud restaurant well especially considering she was wiped out!

First time in a restaurant high chair!

Zooey is standing quite well, using minimal one handed support. I suspect she will be walking in a month or so. She LOVES to put food in her mouth though spits a lot of it out after gumming it around. What else? I wish I could report that she is sleeping well or through the night, but she's not. In fact, we had a sleep consultant coming to help with this problem this week! (More on that later...)

My next Zooey post may very well be her 1st birthday. Can you believe it? Our 4 lb 10 oz mini will be turning 1!

Enjoy Z talking:

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Free time?!?!

Tonight I find myself in a very unusual situation. A situation I haven't encountered in 11 months. It is 7pm and I have nothing I have to be doing!! Sure, there are things I could do- paperwork, reading journals, picking up, journaling, working on Zooey's scrapbook, looking for houses, etc but none of it needs to be done tonight. I already worked out- a great 5 mile pyramid run. I already did the essential dishes, I already put the laundry away. I saw 10 patients in clinic, I attended conference, I looked for the needed paperwork for my licensure and mortgage application. I fed Zooey, played with Zooey and got her to bed.

What to do???

Write a totally non-essential blog post while watching 'The Good Wife'. That's what I'm doing. Productive non-productivity. Awesome!

Let me tell you, stopping nursing has been a life changer in a really good way! The ability to occasionally sleep through the night (when Adam takes Z), and an extra 2-3 hours of available time during the day- it is fabulous!!

So here is my themeless blog, just some cute Zooey photos and antics that I thought would be fun to share:
Z's first bison! At the Peggy Nodebaert Nature Museum.

Z always has smiles for Grandpa!

And she loves baths with Grandma!

Zo has mad ball dropping skills.

Just cute

Even cuter

It is increasingly hard to take any still photos of this girl. Here we are trying to take the 9 month photo of Z next to her developmental milestones book but she is exhibiting that she is right on track with her mobility milestones by trying desperately to roll or scoot away to play!

Add caption
 Z was able to be part of her great-grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary celebration. My Grandma's wedding dress and honeymoon dress are behind them. It was great to hear their memories of getting ready for the wedding, the day of and the honeymoon.

Happy Anniversary Grandpa and Grandma!

See my "toofers"? (teeth)

Zooey always uses her feet to manipulate objects. She's a little monkey. Our little, favorite, adorable monkey:)

That's all for now. Gosh, and I still have 1/2 hour until bed!!! Best day EVER!! ;)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Bubbles Academy

Yesterday, Adam, Zooey and I went on a play adventure to Bubbles Academy. Bubbles is a place in Lincoln Park that offers baby and kid music, movement and swim lessons as well as open play groups. We went to the open playgroup that is offered every Saturday (as well as M-F) from 1-5pm. The play is for babies and toddlers and takes place in a big, fun, colorful carpeted room called the Meadow Room. There are all kinds of toys, tunnels and foam blocks to climb on and through, sit atop toys, sleds, grocery carts to push, tents to play in, scarves and clothes to try on and, of course, bubbles!

Meadow Room

As soon as we got there we placed Zooey on the floor and she was off to the races. She showed not an ounce of apprehension or shyness as she scooted around the room from toy to toy. She immediately got involved with some bubbles and spent the first 1/2 hour with a bubble on her head. This is the view we had of her most of the day as she scooted in front of us in her attempt to get to the next great thing:

Constant movement= blurry pics. But see the bubble on her head??

Sometimes the authorities forced toys on her that she wasn't necessarily interested in. But she resourcefully found an escape route!

Watching the big(ger) kids
Zooey really enjoyed watching some of the bigger kids. We spent a good 5 minutes watching an 18 month old having her snack and not listening (or not understanding?) her mom's request for her to "sit over here". Hopefully Zooey wasn't learning lessons in not listening to your mom! All of the parents we ran into were super conscientious about enforcing sharing and making sure the bigger kids didn't get too close to Zooey. So I felt kinda bad when Zooey would scoot right up to bigger "walkers" and try to take their toys. I guess she's learned from being in a daycare room with a bunch of older, bigger boys that you have to take what you want from them! I think she's too young to understand "sharing" but I'll admit, other kids were disproportionately "sharing" with her and she didn't give much back in return!

"I know what to do with this!!"

Her favorites were the tunnels (no surprise there, she loves tunnels), the play ketchup bottle, the foam balls and the sled. She zoomed around the room on the sled two separate times, holding on for dear life. She didn't even seem to notice when other kids hopped on for a ride as well.

More, Daddy, More!
Doesn't she look like a frog?

Totally non-plussed when this guy joined the ride!

We weren't able to capture a whole lot of smiles- when Zooey is in the zone trying new things or exploring she is stingy with the smiles, but she certainly was entertained. She probably could have gone another 1/2 hour but her parents were ready for a change of scenery!

Play time well spent!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

1st Valentine's Day!

Two of three looking at the camera aint' bad!
Before Zooey was born, Adam and I joked that she wouldn't cramp our style all that much because we already eat and go to bed pretty darn early. So for Valentine's Day, we didn't see how having a 10 month old would prevent us from celebrating this wonderful "Hallmark" holiday with our new Valentine with a nice 5pm dinner out!

The day started out on a good note when Zooey's teachers presented me with Zooey's Valentine's Day gift- a picture of her painting a picture with the actual painting on the reverse side. So neat! This reminded me once again how lucky we are to have excellent child care. Zooey clearly has so much FUN at school. Every morning when I drop her off she is so eager to get to the floor to start exploring!

It was a regular day at work, but as silly as it sounds, all day I was really looking forward to dinner with Adam and Z. I was able to sneak out a little early so I had time to change Zooey into her Valentine's Day dress (one of her shower gifts from my co-workers). Then Z and I walked just a few blocks over to Flour & Stone, a newish pizza place in Streeterville. I'm definitely going to miss being able to walk to so many restaurants and activities when we move, but I know having more space- both in our home and green space in the form of parks- will more than make up for it!

Zooey and I ordered salad, pizza and adult beverages while we waited for Adam. Zooey was super well behaved (as usual) and spent a good 10 minutes ripping up napkins (don't worry, I picked up the pieces that fell to the floor, we are not THOSE people with kids at restaurants!). Z was very excited to see her daddy when he arrived. It is becoming increasingly hard to get good pictures of this girl and almost impossible to get good ones of her smiling because she is ALWAYS MOVING. But I keep trying!

Hi Daddy, can I have your glasses??
Zooey also opened the Valentine's Day present from her Grandma Lilly- a cute spring dress- can't wait for it to warm up so she can wear it!

Thanks, Grandma and Grandpa Lilly!
We were able to get through salad and most of the pizza uneventfully while Zooey enjoyed peas. We then let Z have her first few bites of pizza (crust)! We figured surely she'd love it as much as her mom does! As we marvelled at how well she was handling the seemingly huge bites she was taking, she started coughing. Cough....cough...cough.... BLECH!!! And just like some alien horror movie, out came a of peas....all down the front of her dress.

Eating peas.
Eating crust.

She may be our first, but we've got this parenting in public thing nailed and within a few minutes we had her outfit changed, got our food boxed and were out the door. :)

She was fine and in fact fell asleep in the car on the way home which was her Valentine's Day present to us, I think.

Some of you may recall that last year Adam got quite ill at Valentine's Day dinner and wasn't able to get through the really long, lovingly worded card I gave him without a trip to the bathroom with a bucket. Suffice it to say, I'm a little nervous about next year because it must be my turn.....

Hope you all had a great V day!

Due to the great vomitus of 2014, Z opened her gift
from Grandma and Grandpa Nelson today instead:)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Adventures at 10 months!

Zooey turns 10 months old on Monday. She has had a very busy month learning lots of new skills. She has started feeding herself solids much to the absolute excitement of her school teachers, parents, grandparents and great-grandparents! The first food she sought out to feed herself was a bagel. She was at school when her teachers looked over and to their absolute surprise she had a huge bite of bagel in her clutches (and mouth!) that she found on the floor! They immediately took that piece away and put her at the table with a fresh bagel piece which she continued to eat. They promptly videotaped the event and sent it to me a few minutes later. I love the excitement of Zo's teachers - they are as (if not more) excited about Zooey's development as we are!

She also learned how to get herself into a sitting position in the past couple weeks. She does it in an odd way. She basically gets herself into the splits from laying on her belly then pulls her legs around. What a goof! 

Just this week she has started to pull herself to standing. We bought a foam block just in time for her to practice this skill over and over at home. 

Other adventures include playing in (and eating) snow:

Continuing to teethe. (She has two adorable "toofers", I think she's working on more on the right side.):

Brushing the two teeth she has. She loves this and opens her mouth in anticipation as soon as she sees the toothbrush.

Yoga poses....cobra anyone?

She crawls through everything. She loves to conquer obstacles- like crawling through her elephant rocker- even if there is a much easier alternate route to traverse!

That's all for now! Stay tuned for a Valentine's Day post!