Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Fine-tuning the details

Ran my first 5K since delivering C last weekend. Managed to snag a 26:09, which secured a 1st place finish in the 25-29 female division, and while I was thrilled with my accomplishment, (and even more excited to bring my pretty gold medal home to C!), I learned that any training for any event from here on out will be a trial of wills.

Finding time to bang out runs that are even a small semblance of what is dictated in the various training plans that I have hanging around on Pinterest is hard enough; finding the ENERGY to complete the runs is the true challenge! C was diagnosed with reflux and the pediatrician thinks she has a "touch of colic", so essentially the last 3 weeks sleep has been a luxury, feeling rested a distant memory. To top it off, C is DEFINITELY a breast-fed baby, like, hard-core. As in, refuses a bottle/pacifier, preferring instead to scream and wail her little head off until either I give in, (which is all too often), and hike up my shirt, or cry until she's so exhausted and hungry she has no other choice but to take the bottle. Couple that with acid reflux, some colic, and her own 7 week old lack of patience and the result are some long, sleepless, mentally and emotionally draining nights that stretch into even longer days. Luckily, my husband is wonderful and does great with her, which allows me some free time to try to throw down a run or a brief episode of cross-training, and I'm very lucky that my mother-in-law loves spending time with C, so that has helped, but nothing...and I mean NOTHING can take the place of a good nights' sleep when training for ANY distance!

My husband is of course still working while I'm still on maternity leave, and while we are seriously considering me switching to part-time work, teaching at the local community college and working in the Nursing Skills Lab, that still doesn't change the fact that I, she with the milk bags, is the primary source of midnight comfort for C. My husband does get up with her when he doesn't have to work the next day, or if he is going in a little later, so that helps. But nothing changes the fact that there is marked deficit in sleep when one sleeps very little and very broken the other 5 nights a week.

What does this mean for training? Well...I am now convinced that I could be an instructor for the USMC in the art of functioning at optimal performance under the duress of sleep deprivation. Do I have advice? Nope...because NOTHING out there prepares you for the all-encompassing exhaustion that comes with motherhood, therefore I wouldn't even dare try to give any sort of advice. Just my personal experiences and how I cope.

1) Being flexible. In the past, I would've check-marked off EACH and EVERY SINGLE work-out in the training plan to make sure that I was the most prepared I could've ever been. Now that it's me and C training together, (she for the Breastmilk Consumption Marathon), I've learned that on nights like tonight, after almost 3 long consecutive sleepless night, to try an even CONSIDER banging out that tempo 3 miles would be more detrimental than sitting on my ass eating beef roast and potatoes and taking a nap. The work-out can wait until tomorrow. And as for "Morning or evening exerciser"?Yeah, now I just get my work-outs whenever the hell I can!

2) Pump! Yes, pump. Or make sure that I time my work-out slot close enough to C's next meal so that way my boobs aren't spraying during the work-out. Learned that one the hard way...

3) Pee right before you start, and then pee again for good measure. C's delivery has since destroyed my pelvic floor muscles. And if you read my previous entries then you are more than aware of how I learned this lesson.

4) If all else fails, text my mother-in-law, chug some Diet Coke and suck it up. There have been more of these kinds of days than I could ever count. And this requires no explanation. Sometimes, the work-out just needs to get done. If not for fitness, but even for my own sanity.

5) Even though training for ANY event right now is 100x's more complicated than ever, the complexities, the logistics, and of course the relief of being able to go be "me" for an hour trumps any fatigue or difficulty. This is my lifestyle, and while it is a little, (okay, A LOT!) harder to maintain this part of me, I don't allow myself to feel guilty that I'm taking time for myself. It's a relief to get to walk away from the endless diapers, bathtimes, Zantac and Mylicon doses that never seem to stay down, the lack of sleep and socialization, and all the extras that come with being a new mom. That hour is my time, and that makes me a better mom.

Someday, when C is walking, talking and much more independent, I'm going to look back on all this and remember wistfully her chubby little cheeks, her smiling at me during nursing, her satisfied little smacking as she sucks greedily, and the colic, the crying, the exhaustion, the tears of my own frustration and sadness that I can't make it better will all be gone. Already I'm struggling with the fact that she's growing out of all her little baby clothes so fast. Training helps me cope, and helps me appreciate all the beauty of being C's mommy. And training lets me win her pretty medals that I take her picture wearing to place on the display that will hold all my race bibs and medals that I won running during my pregnancy and her first year.

Training for any event before having a baby is difficult in and of itself. But when you add motherhood and all the challenges and lack of sleep on top of that, you truly find out what you're made of.

Friday, September 6, 2013

"Any bowel or bladder issues?"

"Any bowel or bladder issues?" asks the frantically cheerful office nurse, tapping away energetically on her tablet computer as I climb on the exam table.

"Uhhh... well..." I stammered, not sure how to admit that at 29 years old and 6- weeks post-partum, I was basically peeing myself the entire time I cranked out a 3 mile tempo run yesterday on the treadmill.

And I didn't even know it until my shorts could no longer hold the load and urine had started DRIPPING down my legs.

"Well..." I started again, taking a deep breath, knowing that as an RN myself, it's best to just let 'er fly. "Well...yesterday I was running and I noticed that I had a little leakage of urine."

I could feel my face turn red as she answered matter-of-factly with that sterile, false sense of concern, "Kegels. Just keep doing the Kegels."

Kegels. The answer to everything female-related. Have a leaky bladder well before your time? Kegels. Can't poop? Kegels. Partner spending too much time in the garage? Watching sports? Kegels. Unsure of the meaning of life? Kegels.

Great...just what I want to do. Practice stopping the flow of urine 12 times a day. I'll be sure to add that to my calendar between the baby's cardiology appointments, the laundry, endless breast-feeding sessions that have caused my couch cushions to practically collapse into the floor, and trying to recall how to make conversation with my husband that doesn't revolve around the baby.

Kegels. Got it.

I mumbled my thanks and accepted her offer of the pre-warmed backless wonder of a gown with my pride tucked between my previous day's urine soaked legs, and muttered a brief, "I'll be sure to work on those." The nurse nodded her head absent-mindedly, and continued to tap in my vitals.

As she worked in silence, I kicked off my running shoes, ready to change into The Gown, and mentally kicked myself for even thinking that my leaky bladder would even be a blip on her radar. Of course it isn't a big deal; 6 weeks ago I cranked out my 8#, 1 oz daughter in under 15 minutes like it was my job, came out with only 2 sutures, and hell, she didn't even have a damn cone head! Duh...who am I, of all women who have spewed forth from her loins a beautiful little miracle to even THINK that the golden fountain was something to mention?

But I digress. She was just doing probably the exact same thing that I would have, had I been her and she me. Blown it off without looking like she was blowing it off.

After she left the room to allow me in all my lactating glory to change, I sat on the paper-covered exam table, alone with my thoughts. Yesterday was tempo run day in my Half-Marathon training plan and I was very proud to say that I owned that bitch. 3 miles at an 8:34 pace, which was exactly where I was running back when I was side-lined about 5 months ago. And it would've been a lot more to celebrate if I hadn't had the ever-present reminder of my beautiful daughter's entry into our world dribbling embarrassingly down my legs.

I was cooking hard with peanut oil, no side stitches, only a little bit of pelvic bone pain, no knee/hip pain and I was rocking. The miles seemed to be slipping by effortlessly, and I was THRILLED to (finally!) be doing something without 15# of baby, amniotic fluid, placenta and a partridge in a pear tree sitting on my bladder. In a word...AWESOME. But I couldn't help but have this ominous sense of discourse; I didn't have to pee. At all. And this was after downing a 32 oz Gatorade about 30 minutes prior to my run. (Breastfeeding requires additional hydration!) But hey, I was running, and already thinking, "5K next weeked, yo!"

Never mind that the wondrous sensation of lack of bladder irritation was coming from the fact that lo and behold: my bladder was emptying. As I ran. On a treadmill. In a gym inhabited by nothing but young, single, CHILDLESS men who probably knew nothing of the mysteries of the female form post-birth. While wearing bright purple running shorts. That show ALL liquids.

And they say that pregnancy, birth and motherhood is beautiful.

But run I did, urine and all! And of COURSE as I ran I became much more acutely aware of the warm sensation gushing in my shorts about every 1/3 of a mile, which then triggered my let-down, so naturally not only was I leaking urine, but now I had two half-dollar sized wet spots on my red tee-shirt.

Might as well have been holding up a big sign that said, "Pissing my pants, and in need of a good milking".

I felt like an animal. A bipedal, lactating, linguistic, mammalian specimen on display in her natural element. Kind of like a chimp. You know, the chimps that shoot around, barbarically chasing one another with their long chimp-titties dusting the grounds.

At least my vulva isn't the size of a banana. Well...not that I can tell, anyway. But I did just have a baby  6 weeks ago.

But I stuck it out. Urine is washable, but pride is forever. I finished the work-out, waddled my way into the bathroom as discreetly as possible, and silently thanked whomever it was that came up with the idea that running shorts should be wicking and fast-drying. AS I exited the gym, I said as nonchalantly as possible to the buff guy working the counter, "Man, that was a particularly sweaty work-out! Looks like I'm going to have to sit on my sweatshirt to protect my upholstery!"

I have pride, but I'm not made of steel.

The 7 minute drive home was a relief. I came up the stairs, greeted my husband who had just put our baby down for a nap, and (against my better judgement) proceeded to do what all new moms do:


And not one to spare ANYTHING, I filled him in on all the pissy details. (Pun intended). Expecting the typical male reaction of "Well, how long does THAT last?" I was pleasantly surprised to see my husband laughing at my predicament, not the least bit grossed out. He even asked if it would help at all to put one of C's diapers in my shorts. "You could share, like how some moms and daughters share clothes and shoes, you know. And baby you're so smokin' hot that C's diapers would fit you PERFECT." Which in turn lightened the mood and made me laugh. And caused me to overshare some more.

So when I sat there in the office, recalling my latest adventure in the new world of Mommyhood that  no one ever seems to tell you about, (or maybe in my case, failed to listen), I had to no choice but to cheer a little at the situation. No matter the reaction of those around me, I have to remember to not take myself too seriously. And look on the bright least I didn't s@&# myself like I almost did at my last race, 24 weeks pregnant and high on stool softeners.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Want me to take her?

My baby is sleeping. It is 8:30PM, and for the first time today since about 2:45AM when my husband got up with her, (aside from brief, 20 minute cat-naps), she is FINALLY SLEEPING! So what do I do...? Frantically run around the house, throwing sleepers and burp cloths, the changing table pad that was pooped on last week, (before anyone chastising me, I DID put a clean burp cloth on the dried poop spot so there would be no skin contact until I had time to wash), my running clothes--

Wait?? What was that? My running clothes?

Yes, after a long morning that stretched into a long afternoon, that threatened to walk its way exhaustedly into another longer evening, my husband came through our door like a golden angel of baby salvation and offered to take our 5-week old daughter so I could see the outside world for 30 minutes out of 24 hours.

And like the desperate, trying to get the hang of it new mom I am, I took that offer and ran with it.


That is, after I fed her AGAIN, changed her, rocked her for 30 minutes because she was in one of her, "Mommy, hold me" moods. So we fast-forward to about 40 minutes after the initial offer, and I'm (finally!) in my running clothes, I-Pod charged with a new playlist qeued up, and I'm tying my shoes. Just before hitting the door, our dog decided that he needed out RIGHT NOW, and after another
 minute delay, I was off.

I had set a goal for a 3-miler, the first run plotted out on the Half-Marathon training plan that I had pinned from Pinterest the other day, but as the early fall air hit my Mommy-hermit body, I became invigorated and felt like taking advantage of the fresh air and the opportunity to clear my head. Sure, pangs of my daughter kept pricking at me, (or maybe that was the let-down in my lactating breasts as they bobbed none-to-gently in my rebar-enforced bra), but as the air and my legs carried my along, I allowed the shadows of my former self to come out and play.

Theory of a Dead Man's "Bad Girlfriend" came pounding in my ears and it brought me back to the days of dating my husband. No, I've never done drugs or been accused of being slightly promiscuous, but the line, "mess with you

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Feels like the very first time

Journey may not be my very first choice when queing up a playlist on my Ipod, but three days ago when I set out on my very first long run since being side-lined by SPD during the last 13 weeks of my pregnancy, that was exactly how I felt. I wanted to run on pavement for the first long run, (we live on gravel roads), so I drove the 7 minutes to the gym, parked my car and brought up MapMyRun on my phone. Along with a little Journey for the journey.

Setting out to just "run for fun" was a little hard to wrap my brain around, especially since I have been looking at some fall races starting in the next 6 weeks or so. But running for fun was what I knew my post-partum body needed, so I plugged into a fun, boppy playlist and hit the roads in the beautiful sunshine.

It felt so great to be outside after spending the last 3 weeks pretty much shut up in my house, learning my daughter, learning to breast-feed, crying at times, trying to "sleep when the baby sleeps", feed myself while feeding her, and wait, didn't I JUST change/feed/console/repeat the process?

In other words, it felt great just to be ME for a while.

I didn't pay attention to speed, (well, TRIED not to), but just listened to my body. And the bilateral side stitches. I listened to them, too, as they reminded me what it means to be a "beginner" again. I ran slowly, thinking about nothing and everything, setting a long run goal of 3 miles, and at one point even stopping to tie my shoe. I thought about being a mother at 29, chastising myself for constantly trying to put her back to bed, (but what else do babies do, other than eat/sleep/poop/cry, repeat?), I hounded myself to take more pictures, and I even cried a little at the thought of going back to work in 7 weeks. I mourned the loss of her delicate little newborn body as she is packing on the pounds, and in the blink of eye cheered at the thought that my dedication to breast-feeding obviously was paying off since she's chunking out. I experienced fear as I realized that every day that goes by, I will never get back, and every minute that passes she's changing and growing. I panicked at the idea that in 16 (or hopefully more!) years she will be dating, facing "grown-up" issues like sex, peer pressure, alcohol and drugs, and then, (ever the solutionist), promptly decided that the purchase of some sort of firearm would be in order. I happily recalled how in love with her my husband is, and then became jealous at how easily he can console her without the aid of breasts when she's sobbing, and all I can do is give her a boob.

I thought about how easily this 3 miles USED to be, and secretly was a little glad to find my shoe untied so I could stop for 30 seconds. I experienced self-deprecating thoughts of how slow my speed was, (even though I was TRYING not to pay attention to it), but quickly cheered myself up with "Don't worry--when I first started running, I couldn't even leave my driveway!". I studied the map on MapMyRun, trying to calculate "how much freaking longer??" and worried about my daughter. Is she hungry, is she refusing a bottle for her grandma, is she looking for me, is she wondering why her mommy left her?

As I rounded back down the cul-de-sac where my Edge was parked, I slowed to a walk to cool down, grateful that 3.5 miles was DONE! I then encountered this almost immediate feeling of "I can't wait until I can run again!"

Realizing that my excitement coupled with relief paralleled the constant ups and downs of motherhood and hormones, I became impatient to get back home my baby, when just 32 minutes prior I was so relieved to get AWAY for a while. My renewed sense of well-being helped me feel more confident in myself and my skills as a mom, when just 32 minutes before I was scared shitless to the point of almost having a panic attack when I had just finished feeding the baby for what seemed like the 100th time in 4 hours.

After pulling into my driveway and throwing my shoes off after coming through the door, I was saddened to see my baby sleeping peacefully, when 32 minutes ago I was desperate to get her to sleep. Missing her terribly, I crept into our bedroom and stared into her bassinet, secretly wishing she would wake up so I could just hold her. But alas, quietly she rested, growing softly, and I walked to the shower, sweaty, sore and guilt-free for the first time in 3 weeks.

Welcome back!!

I'm back!!

So after taking some time away from all this blogging stuff, I'm back and ready to share another (new!) chapter of my life--


Yes, we had a BEAUTIFUL wedding, Cancun was AMAZING, and I looked awesome in my dress all the while saving quite a bit of money working it here at home, hitting the living room 5-6 times per week. And after we got back, my husband and I were pleasantly surprised to find out that I was expecting! Making it my goal to keep up with my work-outs and to continue running throughout my pregnancy was easy; actually being able to DO it was a completely different ballgame.

At first, the lethargy and sleepiness was okay to deal with; daily runs, (albeit slow), helped to combat the fatigue that comes with early pregnancy, but then around Thanksgiving that's when the morning, (and by "morning", I really mean "all-day") sickness hit. There were plenty of afternoons after completing only 2 miles I would just cry that "my fetus is just a parasite, sucking away at me!"

My husband, who is an absolute SAINT, was always so supportive, encouraging me with "at least you're doing something", and "this should pass, just keep thinking positive". After the first couple of Dr's appointments, and some oral Zofran later, I began to feel a little better, stretching my runs a little further, and returning back to some speedwork. In February, at 16 weeks pregnant, I ran a 5K where I placed first in my age group, thereby returning some of the pep in my step. And after 3 more subsequent 5k's, where I nailed another 1st, a 2nd, and an 8th age group placing, I started having difficulty running which quickly progressed t difficulty walking due to severe pelvic and hip pain. Being a nurse, a chalked it up to "a pulled muscle", bought a pelvic support belt, and limped around work like that for over 2 weeks. At the urging of one of my good friends who works in our OB department, I finally went to the Dr. The diagnosis? Severe Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction. In a nutshell, all the Relaxin and other fun hormones of pregnancy had affected my joints in my pelvic region so severely the joints in my pelvis and hips had begun to separate.

I quickly jumped aboard the Physical Therapy boat, but as my pregnancy progressed and my daughter, (yes, we have a GIRL!), grew, the pain increased and my mobility decreased. I walked like a Weeble-Wobble, obviously running was off the table, and I could feel the little fingers of the depression that runs in my family trying to hook its fingers into my psyche. Daily bouts of crying due to either sadness or simply pain became my companion. I began spending more and more time in bed feeling bad, choosing to skip work-outs because, let's face it, when your husband has to help you turn and move in bed because your pelvis cracks and pops so bad it brings tears to your eyes, who wants to try to wrestle into a maternity fitness skort and waddle into a gym? But at least 3 days a week I wrestled my egg-shaped belly into that maternity skort, and waddle into the gym I did, completing 20-40 minutes on the elliptical trainer, (which I now cannot even stomach the idea of even looking at it!), and running through my PT routine to keep my body as strong as possible. At 39 weeks, my OB and I agreed for an induction, and when my daughter was born, I could barely contain my excitement for her sweet, bruised little face, and the very idea of getting up and seeing what it would feel like to walk without all that extra weight bearing down on my pelvis.

After coming home, the initial acute post-labor discomfort coupled with the kayak-sized maxi pads kept me from doing too much, but after I got the okay at my 2 week visit, I hit the gym for the first time for a 2 mile slow jog and weight-training session. That 2 miles could've been a half-marathon due to the smile on my face! After 15 weeks of no running, it felt AMAZING to plod along at 5.5-6.0 mph! That first week I logged 10 miles between the treadmill and my neighborhood roads! Though they were slow miles, my husband continued to remind me, "they're miles all the same, and 4 months of not being able to run them just goes to show how strong you really are".

I told you he was a saint!

So now, while I'm not shedding and saving for a wedding, my priorities have definitely shifted, and now my focus is trying to stay fit to be a mom. And now, while my little baby is sleeping, I am desperately tapping out this blog of introduction into this new chapter of my life, ready to share my journey into discovering what it takes to be an active mother.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Taking a day off

Night #2 of my six-night stretch: I woke up at my usual time, 2PM, but I didn't really sleep all that hot today. For starters, some electric/gas line/community Bob the Builders decided that today was the day that they were going to wage war on some buried something-or-other, which then lead to my in-laws' dog sitting RIGHT OUTSIDE of our bedroom barking.


So while I did go to bed at 8AM like usual, my trusty six hours of slumber wasn't exactly the most restful. And for the most part, I do all right when that happens. I work 12-hour shifts, (which I really do prefer), and in the nursing profession, by the time you clock in and get report, essentially you're already behind the eight-ball; the 12 hours you get is pretty much a giant race-against-the-clock trying to get your meds in on time, complete that health history on the Alzheimer's nursing home resident that came up right in the middle of hanging your antibiotic that is a timed start because it requires a peak and trough, taking your fresh post-op to the bathroom while you hold your own bladder, trying to coordinate what you're going to order out for supper because the pizza place closes in 15 minutes and ICU still needs to place their order because everyone is tired and no one packed a lunch...

And people think nursing is a glamour job...

So 2PM I woke up, threw on my favorite "granny sweater", (an old lavender chenille hoody that I putz around the house in), and while my Keurig was firing up some hot water for some Rocket Fuel, I got the computer going while I trekked outside in 50 degrees of cloudy, windy, damp overcast.

"Wonder what's in the mail today?" I mumbled to myself, shuffling down the sandy driveway in my baggy sweats and 5-year old Asics that I REFUSE to throw out. (Good mailing-retrieving shoes, I reason).

Opening the box while trying to avoid our resident wolf spider that I SWEAR is trying to stealth-bomber its little way into my house via my Victoria's Secret catalogs, my anticipation mounts as I hope for maybe an edition of "Fitness", "Shape", maybe perhaps "Oxygen" magazines. Upon finding "Better Homes and Gardens", and a bunch of political mailers, (I will be thrilled when this election is over), I trek the 0.08 miles back up into the house to move on to the next important slice of my pre-work day: Rocket Fuel.

My Keurig machine is my little slice of Heaven. A 26th birthday gift from my future in-laws, it is a God's physical incarnation of all things Holy to a night-shifter. And since I'm the only one in the house that consumes either Rocket Fuel or coffee, it's really worth it's weight in gold.

After making my old stand-by cup size selections, (one large cup with one small cup in my Port Huron coffee mug), my hot water jet-streams out of the machine to douse my two green tea bags and steep until room temp. "Rocket Fuel" is my nick-name for my Andrea-special brew of green tea. "Pour hot water over a single tea bag and steep for 2-5 minutes", says the instructions on a green tea box.


My recipe involves 2 tea bags steeping in boiling hot water until the mixture reaches room temp, (or my caffeine headache gets bad enough), and the tea itself is no longer green but rather an olive brown with a skin floating across the top. (For the record, I am completely convinced that the "skin" is actually a collection of super-potent antioxidants). Once the tea has achieved brown-skin perfection, then and only then is it deemed worthy of the "Rocket Fuel" moniker.

Usually it only takes one cup of Rocket Fuel to get my jets ignited. After a cup, I'm usually tapping my foot rapidly on the floor, my hands are sweaty, my eyelids basically glued to my eyebrows and my pupils dilated. My creative juices flowing, my energy picking up a notch, and after peeing about 5-6 times in an hour, I'm ready to go for a run.

And people think coffee is the way to go...

But today, even after my Rocket Fuel, after wading through wedding planner e-mails, printing off documents that my fiance and I need to sign, finally making a last-minute decision on our wedding favors and placing that order, fiddling around on Facebook and Pinterest, (don't judge me--that's my reward for getting through the e-mails!), I sit here, working away as a wanna-be freelance writer and committed runner, and yet...

...I'm not feeling it. My foot is jiggling, my hands sweaty, my eyes open and my whole body on alert, I sit. Waxing poetic about the wonders of Rocket Fuel, but with no desire whatsoever to make it happen. My Achilles tendons are a litte tight and sore, I have a crick in my back and physically every joint in my body is telling me that "today is not the day." 

And here I sit, Fueled up, antsy, but enjoying the peace and quiet that my rapid-fire typing is sporadically breaking up. So today, I'm taking the day off.

Starting the next stretch

Today I woke up around 12:30. To the average 9-5'er, that probably sounds incredibly lazy. And to those that would know that my fiance had been awake and hard at work harvesting corn since 4AM, that probably sounds ridiculously lazy.

But if we turn the tables, and think about in terms of nightshift, 12:30 is actually quite early, especially when you consider that I had to be at work from 6PM-6AM.

But when you can't sleep, you can't sleep. So I woke up. I checked my e-mail, reviewed some wedding planning information, played around on Facebook for a while, drank my vanilla protein shake, my Rocket Fuel, (my beloved green tea), and eventually checked my Weather Channel app.

At 3PM, I finally headed out the door for a 4-mile run. And I will be honest: after yesterday's 8-miler, it was brutal. Very brutal. After not really sleeping good, the chill in the air, the wind, and the fact that I just...really didn't feel like it, (in reality I would've preferred to sit inside and enjoy the last cupcake leftover from my bridal shower), that impending 4 miles seemed like torture. So I made myself a promise: "just finish the first mile. If you still feel like crap, you can at least turn back around and be back home in 8 minutes." So I took off, the wind in my face, (and down my long-sleeve fleece), "Tootsie Roll" turning my feet over.

At 3:10PM,  I was into Mile 2 and blew my farmin' fiance a nice little kiss as I ran by him, sitting in the semi, waiting for his next fill.

At 3:15PM I slowed back down, grateful that I had finally passed out of his sight. (Yeah, I do it, too; when I pass people I know I kick it up a notch.) The wind was pretty brisk; Weather Channel said it was only 53 degrees, and it was pretty overcast. For 3 out of my 4 miles, I was straight into a cold headwind that was akin to having someone's icy freezer-fingers tickling me right under the chin.

And like running into a wall. Yup...headwind into a wall.

But the pep in my step returned as I entered Mile 3, and my chilly-willy-nilly run warmed up a little bit as I changed directions from the wind, and the pavement under my feet was flat, smooth and otherwise a welcome break from having to constantly ditch rocks, stones, gravel and my new seasonal broken-bone favorite: walnuts. I managed to maintain a good 8:00-8:30 mile pace, and after I turned down my road, my pace picked back up even more, (so much in fact I actually had to unzip my quarter-zip to allow some of my steam to escape), and I finished strong, grateful that I forced myself out.

And at 3:36 I was finishing my cool-down walk.

4PM spawned my get-ready-to-nurse-all-night shower and get ready routine. (Hair, make-up, what super-baggy scrubs I plan on wearing).

4:30PM I'm packing my lunch and heating up my Lean Cuisine.

In between all this, I'm thinking about what work-outs I need to get in for the week-end, what mileage total I want to accomplish, when I'm going to suck it up and spend an afternoon inside with one of my Jillian Micheals strength DVDs, how I'm going to squeeze in a relatively appropriate amount of sleep over the next 6 nights, when I might get to at least see my fiance face-to-face...and on...and on...and on...

And I don't even have any kids!

At 5:30PM I'm packing up my truck and heading out the door to start my 20 min drive in. As I drove, contemplating today's run, I got to thinking about my most obvious point, and that would be that my routines during my "work-week" isn't always the most conducive to most standard training plans, and really, that's okay. Example? My training schedule dictated that today (Saturday) I was supposed to do 8 miles, but knowing full well that I probably wouldn't sleep the best, that it was going to be the second night of six, and (duh!), today was forecasting wind and rain, I did my eight earlier this week. And then squeezed four in earlier, and will probably do my DVD, (or take today as a rest day, who knows?), today. At the end of the week, as long as the miles get done, and done in way that I can at least part of, if not all, of them, then you know what? That's okay. I have figured out that most training plans are written for the "9-5'ers", who aren't working at 1:30AM on a Saturday night. So as a shout-out to all my fellow night-shift runners who have an "off day" with their training.

Just like this entry, my training may seem a little unorthodox, a little disjointed, a little screwy at times, but that's life.

And I like my life.