I AM ALIVE

Wow, I am the WORST BLOGGER EVER. Seriously.

But I have a great excuse. Bear with me for a moment. I had another baby! neck surgery. Well, that only explains the last five months of inactivity. But the three months before that, I was dealing with some serious low back and neck issues which made running and being anything other than a sloth pretty difficult.  I think I averaged about 15 miles per week of running. That was pretty impressive, I know.

Anyway, fast forward to January 17, 2015. This happened. neck An anterior cervical discectomy and fusion at C5-6. They removed the C5-6 disc and replaced it with some screws, or something.

And this is what it looked like on the outside. neck2 I’m sorry, I can’t help that I’m sexy. My mama came to help me recover, which was very nice of her, especially during almost tax season (she is a CPA). We spent two nights in a fancy hotel with Super Girl, and I watched tv, read trashy magazines, drank stuff through a straw, and Vicodin-texted people. It’s almost as fun as ambien texting. Almost. Super Girl told me I needed to go to lululemon to get a scarf to cover my neck hole, so of course, I did.

The next several weeks were tough. I wasn’t allowed to drive for two weeks, or lift more than a gallon of milk for 6 weeks, which meant I couldn’t pick up my own kids, including Super Baby. Which also means that Super Dad had to ramp up his super parenting skills exponentially, which you wouldn’t think possible, given that he already does everything around here. He would go and get Super Baby from her crib in the middle of the night and set her down beside me in the bed so I could nurse her. Then he would put her back in her crib. Sidebar: WHY did my third baby decide to be the one who was a crappy sleeper? Super Girl and Super Toddler slept through the night at like 7 days old. Not really, but within the first three months of life. Super Dad also had to take them to daycare and pick them up every day for a few weeks. I eventually got to the point where daycare would help me bring the kids out to the car so that I could at least pick them up at the end of the work day. I also couldn’t really be alone with Super Baby because if she needed to be picked up, I couldn’t exactly rely on Super Girl to do it. Although she is freakishly strong for a 5-year-old.

Do you guys know about parenting points? It’s where one parent accumulates points (to be cashed in at a later date) by doing things like watching all the kids for a weekend, or getting up with the baby in the middle of the night, or what have you. Well, Super Dad accumulated about 749,204,573 points during my recovery. He has cashed in approximately 3,200 of them during a recent trip to Colorado. So I am still seriously in the red.

Another awesome thing happened in the winter. We got a ton of ice and snow. About three weeks after surgery, I slipped and fell on the ice, which is definitely  not something you want to happen when you are recovering from a cervical fusion. I was starting to feel a lot better post-surgery. I had regained much of the strength in my left hand which I had lost, and my thumb and hand pain were almost gone. But after I fell, I began having this horrible nerve pain in my right shoulder. I know, I should play the lottery because I have the best luck ever! Well, guess what? To this day, I am still dealing with that pain. I managed to herniate the disc below where I had my fusion. Why? Because when you have a fusion, the levels below and above are at greater risk for herniation. So, yeah, that’s fun.

I am treating with my orthopedic surgeon and a pain management specialist, and have gotten two epidural steroid injections, several trigger point injections, and am going to start physical therapy. I do electric stim at home too. In the mean time, my running has been virtually nonexistent because the jostling seems to bother me. And I am seriously boo-hooing because I haven’t been able to go to Madabolic Raleigh since the new year (seriously, if you are in Raleigh, Charlotte, Charlottesville, Asheville, Greenville, or one of those other ‘villes, you NEED to go. They have an awesome program going and the owners of the Raleigh location are the sweetest people ever). But I have been going to Flywheel a lot because it is low impact and it totally feeds my competitive illness. If I’m not in first place at the end of a class, I feel like I just wasted $20. It’s the only thing I can win at these days, besides eBay and “how many times a day can you yell at your kids?” contests.

I am also turning around my diet with the 21 Day Sugar Detox, which is basically Paleo. I think, I’m not sure. I never really looked into Paleo before because I was 100% convinced I could never give up bread. As we all know from my blog name, I am super into carbs. Like, the bad kind. I am hoping that putting the kibosh on gobbling sweets and swigging Diet Pepsi will help with my pain and some other health issues I won’t get into here.  More on that in my next post, which I PROMISE will not be in 8 months. I am only on day 2 of the detox and so far it is going pretty well. If by “pretty well” you mean “in a way that makes me wish I could be in a medically induced coma for the next 20 days.”  No really, it isn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be, minus the excruciating amount of time I have to spend prepping food and cooking. Which is (how many times can you divide zero into one hour?) times more than I typically spend on those things each day.

But first, I leave you with two delicious things:

1) The Banana Vanilla Bean N’oatmeal that I had for breakfast this morning. To die for.

2) This baby. Who needs to be eaten, immediately. Babies are Paleo, right?

coco2

Recovery Mode

Again, more TMI.  But then we move on to our regularly scheduled exercise-related programming…

Recovering from childbirth is what I imagine recovering from an Ironman would be like… it’s long and it requires patience or you can hurt yourself further.  Plus, it’s different for everyone, and for the same person it may vary depending on the particular race.  With Super Girl, there was a lot that nobody told me about what the immediate aftermath of childbirth would be like.  So, thanks a lot for nothing friends who had kids before me.  I was not prepared for the cramping or feeling like my insides were going to fall out with every step I took.   I started to feel more myself around a month and was back into my workout routine around 2 months postpartum. Recovery with Super Toddler was pretty similar, but a bit more difficult because I was on bed rest the last three weeks of my pregnancy. I was careful though, and eventually PR’d a 5k when he was 6 months old (21 minutes-ish).

With Super Baby, I had terrible cramping for a couple hours after she popped out.  Like, worse than my strongest pitocin-induced contractions.  Oh wait, I had an epidural.  Still, it was not enjoyable.  Once the pain meds kicked in I felt a lot better.  But I had to take 800 milligrams of Motrin a few times a day for over a week.  That didn’t seem normal.  Otherwise, I felt really good south of my waist.  It helped that this was my smallest baby though not by much, and with it being my third child my body seemed to be kinder to me.  I was going for walks within a few days and at around 10 days, thought I could actually run – but I didn’t.  I felt like this was the universe’s way for evening out how ridiculous the labor process went. Until…

At 12 days post partum, I woke up with very odd symptoms.  Like, check with Dr. Google odd.  Typically, when you consult Dr. Google, Web MD, Wrongdiagnosis.com, etc, you get about 821 different diagnoses and turn into a hypochondriac, and there’s a 99% chance that you don’t have any of those ailments.  For me, there was pretty much just one possibility. The next day I had the same symptoms so I called my doctor, who, after an ultrasound, confirmed that I had retained part of the placenta.  Gross.  On Super Baby’s 2 week birthday, I had to undergo a procedure under anesthesia to get everything cleared out, lest I bleed to death at home.  It really wasn’t a huge deal, until I lost a ton of blood on the operating table.  Whoops, so that was scary.  Fortunately, I narrowly avoided a transfusion although my doctor threatened me with an overnight stay to monitor my hemoglobin.  No thanks, I have a baby to attend to.

Since then, I took it easy for almost two weeks.  I was left severely anemic, which coupled with newborn sleep deprivation, has made me extra sleepy. I know right- so weird that losing a lot of blood and waking up every 3-5 hours makes me tired.  I have been taking iron and getting in as many naps as possible, and have gone to bed early every night which means I can’t watch Game of Thrones with Super Dad on Sunday nights when it airs.  So no spoilers on facebook people, I need my sleep.

On Monday, I went for my first run.  It lasted 5 minutes.  Later I thought my lady parts would fall out but it was just a side effect of the massive iron consumption (google it… I am not going to overshare that much).  Yesterday I ran for 10 minutes straight ( that was a mile.  Holy moly) and did five one minute “sprint” intervals.  And by sprint I mean running at about a 4 second per faster pace than my 10 minute jog. But I felt good, and I stopped myself before I was utterly cashed.  Plus, it was 90 degrees out.

Reigning it in is hard. I really want to head out tomorrow and run 20 minutes, then 30, then an hour, but I know that I have to be smart about it or I will hurt any number of organs or body parts that would not have been remotely affected by even a 2 hour run in the morning and an evening Crossfit beating in the past. Childbirth puts your body through the ringer, and just like there is pressure for endurance athletes to get back to training after a race, lest they lose the base they had built up after 6 months of heavy training, there is too much pressure on women to not only crush their workouts until hours before giving birth, but to return to “beast mode” before their milk comes in.  Too much? Sorry, not sorry.  It’s true.  I am done procreating, and have the rest of my life to run marathons, do an Ironman, learn how to do a muscle up pull-up, and Rx+ a WOD.  For now it’s all about keeping this tiny human alive, keeping myself from going insane (aka, sleep as much as possible), and being there to have fun with my other Super kids now that summer is here and the pool is open!

I may be contradicting myself in three weeks when I feel awesome and head back to Athletic Lab for some punishment, but for now, I am trying to be smart about my recovery mode.  Beast mode can wait.

 

Here is the gang at the pool this weekend:

pool

10 weeks

Wow, so I have been going to CrossFit for 10 weeks now, and my goal is to keep at it for another 10 weeks in this pregnancy.  I was able to work out until 34 weeks with Super Toddler, before going on modified bed rest for my blood pressure.  With Super Girl, I ran 3 miles the day before I was told my blood pressure was too high and I needed to be induced (39 weeks).  So if I can make it to 34 weeks again- great.  If not, I am pretty proud of the progress I have made and am glad that I am doing something to offset my terrible eating habits this pregnancy.

I know that most CrossFit enthusiasts are into the Paleo lifestyle, and I am all for it, in theory. For some reason, this baby just wants CARBS. All. The. Time.  At the beginning it was because my morning sickness was so bad, the smell of anything other than bread made me sick to my stomach.  Then it became a convenience thing.  It is just so easy to eat carbs.  But the thing is, it’s really easy to just munch on an apple or banana.  So I am not trying to make excuses.  I am just a chubby kid at heart and I know I need to be more conscious of how I am fueling my body and the baby.  Christmas, New Years, and last week’s (AMAZING) trip to Disney World did nothing for my attempts to eat healthier.  But this week I have been craving healthier choices, in addition to continuing to crave Lindor truffles, Cheez-Its, and biscuits.  I have cut out my Bojangles runs and pizza, and added in fruit for dessert every night. Baby steps right?

Anyway, enough about food.  I’m getting hungry again. At the 10 week CrossFit mark, I have seen a lot of strength gains.  I finally hit a body weight back squat (70 kg- yikes yes, that’s what I weighed two weeks ago).   I know that there are a lot of people who can do 2x their body weight or more but I don’t consume enough protein or lift  enough that that is gonna happen any time soon. I have no idea what my deadlift one rep max is but tonight we did 7 x 2 and I did 80 kg on my last few sets. So I don’t know if that is any good.  My front squat leaves much to be desired but given that I have a large round mass pulling me forward, in addition to the weight sitting on the front of my shoulders, I am not setting my goals too high or trying to push myself too hard.   I still HATE snatches.  I am fairly certain this is a combination of my not being able to keep the bar close enough to my body and my fear of going to heavy overhead on account of my prior shoulder surgeries. So really, not too concerned there.  It’s not like I am trying to compete in any competitions so if I can’t snatch, no biggie.

Pull-ups are still non-existent although I am down to one green band for high rep sets and one purple band for lower reps. We did clap push-ups during last night’s WOD.  Wow, those sucked. I couldn’t figure out why they were so hard, until I realized that every time I try to explode off the ground high enough to clap, I have this giant baby bump pulling me back down toward earth.  That’s the reason that I could only do two at a time before breaking right? Deload pushups are still not so bad, although going all the way down to the ground is getting a little awkward.  My stomach hitting the ground before my chest makes regular pushups easier though 🙂

Running is really not that bad yet.  I am doing it in much shorter spurts than with my other two pregnancies though.  My longest run the last month has been 3 miles and I can stay at around an 8:15 pace.  I just run around the neighborhood because I am at that point where I need to have access to “facilities” in a moment’s notice.  Sorry, TMI. On Saturday, I did the “bleep test” during Endurance class.  Basically, it’s a 20m shuttle run.  The first round you get a lot of time to do the 20m.  You can basically speed walk.  There are several runs in that first round.  Second round is faster, third even faster, etc. etc.  We did the test about 10 days earlier but before that, the last time I did the test was when I was pregnant with Super Toddler.  I managed to get in 9 rounds and 3 runs on round 10.  Only one female in the class beat me.  People were looking at me like I was crazy.

Actually, people look at me like I am crazy at almost every class.  It felt good to do so well during the bleep test but it was also a little frustrating because I of course had to hold back.  When non-pregnant, I go until I want to barf.  That is probably not the healthiest approach to exercise.  But I am obviously not going to push myself to that point while pregnant.  So I really have to listen to my body and stop before I get even remotely close to that point.  I may still be red in the face but I pay attention to my breathing and the rest of my body, and pull in the reigns when anything starts feeling off.

I am really so happy with the community I have found at Athletic Lab.  The coaches are all really motivating, and the people I work out with are like-minded and supportive of one another.    The coaches make sure I am not overdoing it and offer modifications for things I can’t do, like handstands.  They also know that pregnant women produce relaxin, which causes the ligaments to loosen and makes you super flexible.  But because you feel more flexible, you can overstretch and get injured, or squat too deep and hurt something else.  So knowing that I am in good hands every time I step into the gym is a good feeling.  Also, with the other two pregnancies, I just kind of felt like the running I was doing was to be able to say that I kept running.  It was really uncomfortable at times and I took A LOT of bathroom breaks.  With CrossFit, I feel that I am accomplishing something every time I take a class and I leave with a smile on my face.  And some major pit stains.  I may be singing a different tune when I am as big as Shamu but for now, I am going to savor these last 10 weeks (or longer if possible).

 

So confused

Since my last post, I officially became a CrossFit convert/junkie. In order to justify the expense, I ditched my YMCA membership (we had a good run there for 7 years, but time to move on), and put my Massage Envy membership on hold. I could lease a small Kia for what CrossFit costs each month, so no room for other luxuries in the budget.

What I am loving about CrossFit is that each day I can’t wait for the next workout. I can’t say I have ever felt this way about running. I know, blasphemy given the title of this blog. But mixing things up is good for both your muscles and your mind. Hey, if something can get me out of bed 3-4 mornings a week, that’s saying a lot. I think I maybe ran one morning a week when I was super motivated. This could die out quickly but for now, I am going with it.

I just finished up three straight days of workouts (yesterday was endurance so think hill work/lots of running outside) so I am going to take a rest day tomorrow. I already feel like I am in better shape, although the more logical explanation could be that I have quickly learned my limitations (pregnancy-related or otherwise) and I am not pushing myself too hard. Seriously people, before you go all loco on me like everyone did about this lady please keep in mind I am scaling a lot – using bands on pull-ups, lifting less than the prescribed weight on anything overhead, nothing inverted, and NO ROPE CLIMBS. Mainly because I can’t, but also because I know there are certain things that just automatically put me at higher risk for falling and thus, injury. I also keep my heart rate in check and pace myself, which I cannot say I was ever good at in the past. Always wanted to go go go and push push push.

So what have I become? Am I officially a gym rat? How do I find balance and get back to running? Am I bailing on running because I know I can’t get faster in the next five months, and will have a major uphill battle getting back to my very former running speed after I have Super Baby? Or is this my true calling in life? Was running just something I did for the past 20 years on and off because of my background in a solo endurance sport? Maybe I will just get really swoll and be one of those badass masters at the CrossFit games in 10 years. Yeah, probably not…

20131120-201640.jpg

This will be me in 4 months… psych. No one wants to see my big fat pregnant stomach. Also, I can’t lift that much, ever.

Blecht

***originally written on 9/23***

Remember in the last post how I talked about how great I was feeling? Well, that was 10 days ago. Since I last mused on pregnancy, I became so horribly infested with morning sickness that all my energy is reserved for figuring out how to avoid rushing to the bathroom every 6 minutes at work, then willing myself not to yack on my keyboard. I even waited five days to upgrade to iOS 7 because the thought of adjusting to new icons made me nauseous.

I cannot even begin to adequately describe how all consuming the morning sickness is this time around. It was pretty rough with Super Girl but partially, I think I was just like “oh women get morning sickness when they are pregnant, and I am all about pregnancy, so I guess I have it too.” I can’t remember. It lasted til right around my second trimester. But I didn’t have any other kids to raise so laying on the couch eating pretzels every day was no big thing.

With super toddler, I think I had some queasiness but not quite on the level with Super Girl. That’s how I knew it was a boy. I kept running a lot and that’s what reminds me I couldn’t have been that nauseous, because working up a good sweat/lactic acid doesn’t go very well with morning sickness.

The reason I know this is because for the past week, I have either hovered near death (the toilet bowl) or have attempted, in vain, to work out hard. In the fleeting moments where I feel halfway ok, I pretend like nothing is wrong with me making me sick and I have gone to a very intense group exercise class at my favorite very expensive gym downtown. All three times have resulted in disaster. I know I have said before that it’s not a good workout unless cookies are tossed, but that did not apply this week. I was too queasy to really even get to a good workout in. I was focusing too hard on unsuccessfully warding off trips to the bathroom.

On Sunday, I accompanied my sister in law to her first ever class at this studio. I could tell, morning sickness notwithstanding, that it was probably the hardest class I have ever taken at this studio. She looked at me like “what the heck is wrong with you? Normal people don’t do this to themselves.” She works out HARD almost every day of the week, and she is most certainly not with child, so I knew it was a good one. Unfortunately, this meant I was done within 5 minutes. I kept looking at my watch thinking there must be some mistake, that surely more than 9- 12- 14 minutes had elapsed. I finally called it quits at 30 minutes. It was pointless, I was having to stop so often to visit the little girls’ room. Sorry, TMI.

I know you all are thinking that I was crazy for even trying to work out when 95% of my waking hours over the last week have been spent barfing, thinking about barfing, or trying not to think about barfing. I figured that if I already felt sick, it wouldn’t make much difference if I did an activity which would keep me in shape but also make me want to wretch. Oh how wrong I was. I have learned my lesson, and will be limiting my workouts during this very dark period to speed walks around the neighborhood.

I just hope it ends soon, because my mental health depends on a) my ability to contribute around the house and b) how good of a sweat I can get going in the gym or on the road. Super Dad has majorly stepped up, as per usual, and taken care of the kids during the many many times I have been laying on the couch/bed/floor of the bathroom. We both know that Super Baby is the last one, but this experience is 19929% sealing the deal. Super Dad has effectively been rendered a single parent, and a mighty good one at that. Man, I am going to owe him so big- once I am done cashing in my bearing the cross of morning sickness for several months, having back pain, giving birth, getting up to feed the baby in the middle of the night (hopefully not for more than 3 months), and making up for a year of sleep deprivation.

Maybe next time I can write about running, or anything other than barfing. Here’s to hope.

Random first trimester musings

Hopefully I have just finished running my first 10k since June.  And hopefully I didn’t run slower than I have been on my training runs.  Either way, I am just glad to be racing again!  Here is another look into my earlier pregnancy days…

*originally written on 9/13*

We have our first ultrasound in 12 days, and let me tell you three things I am thinking right now:

1) Why didn’t anybody tell me how humongous you get so quickly the third time around?

2) I REALLY hope there are not two or three babies in there, because I think I look like I am 16 weeks pregnant with triplets!

3) I already feel like I have been knocked up for four months. Why couldn’t I have been one of those women on “I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant” that has a perfectly healthy baby on the toilet at 38 weeks?

In other news, I am still feeling well (knock on wood). I was pretty nauseous at this point with both Super Girl and Super Toddler. Maybe my brain knows I don’t have time to be sick, so it’s telling my stomach to suck it up? That said, I am SUPER exhausted. I would much rather take a nap than go run at the end of the day, so I have been trying to work out in the morning since I am sleeping like crap anyway. I don’t remember being this tired before, maybe it’s because I have never had to be pregnant while raising two other kids? Although Super Dad does basically everything way more than most dads.

Will Run for Pickles

***Originally written on August 31***

When I first started this blog, I really wanted to have a post about running during pregnancy. I ran a good amount when I was pregnant with Super Girl, and even did 5 miles the day before she was born. With SuperToddler, I ran a half marathon (1:54) when I was about 15 weeks, then a 5k (24:50) at 24 weeks, and a 10k (53-ish) at 28 weeks. It was definitely harder the second time around, but I was smarter about my workouts. After reading every not so great book about running while pregnant (there were precisely two at the time), I was confident that the baby would not get overheated or, worse yet, fall out if I ran more than 1 mile.

This time around, I plan to keep running but I will incorporate more cycling and swimming yoga, strength training. That’s right, Super Baby part 3 is on the way! I just found out yesterday, right before Labor Day weekend. Awesome- guess who won’t be downing margaritas at the pool on Labor Day? I knew I shouldn’t have tested so early. But I also kind of had a feeling something was “off” so if I had indulged in a lot if adult beverages, raw sushi, and cold cuts over the weekend, I would not have been happy with myself.

Super Baby 3 was not planned because of the ongoing back problems I have been having. We decided to wait on expanding our family until I knew whether I would need injections or surgery. Well, the Big Guy upstairs had other plans. Thanks goodness that I have had almost no issues with my back or leg all week. I think it may be because I have not been on any 4 hour bike rides in that time.

I plan on documenting my activities throughout this pregnancy and my research on running/exercising while pregnant. I am not going to be doing any pregnant triathlons because a) I am deathly afraid of falling off the bike to begin with and b) who really wants to see a pregnant woman in a bathing suit?

That said, I would love to do a few road races, if my body permits, in the next several months. No, I won’t be running a marathon the morning I give birth, like that crazy lady that did the Chicago marathon a couple years ago. Do you have any clue how many potty breaks that lady would have needed to take? Maybe she just wore adult diapers? And just what is the point of running that far when you are 39 weeks pregnant? You are about to endure the torture of labor and sleepless nights- why do that to your bladder and legs? To each her own, I suppose.

I have a 5 mile race on tap for October 20 and half marathon I am tentatively planning for Late fall or early December when I will be well into my second trimester. Maybe a few more short races until the third trimester- then laying on the couch eating curly fries for a good 10 weeks. My goal is to run 2-3 times, ride my bike on my trainer 1-2 times, and do one strength session a week. If my back tells me to stop, then I will do more yoga and swimming sleeping.

For those of you hoping for posts about hardcore triathlon training- sorry. This has officially turned into a pregnant running blog, at least until next spring.