Favorite Things : November 24 – 30, 2018

favorite things

Today starts week 13 of pregnancy. I was pretty sick yesterday morning, but today I feel fine. I’m planning on going for a 45 minute run and doing some CrossFit later today. This weekend is pretty social one. We have plans with friends almost every night of the weekend. Other than that the plan is to do some baking, make some soup, and hopefully spend some quality time with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

How did the Thanksgiving Turkey Trot become so popular?

Important: Run away.

How to become a trail runner.

At Run Woodstock, we set up our chairs near the finish line to I could cheer the 50mile, 100k, and 100 mile people in. And yes, I cried. Finish lines will get you every time.

I’m planning on making this soup this weekend.

Before the last few months, for obvious reasons, I never much paid attention to pregnancy and post-pregnancy running. I went through Salty Running’s archives and it is a treasure of blog posts of weekly running schedules of pregnant and postpartum runners.

Have a great weekend!

xo, Ali

 

Take It Easy

books, crossfit, daily life, dissertation, graduate school, Harry Potter, health, pregnancy, reading, running

Yesterday we had our second prenatal appointment. Everything looks and sounds good. My bloodwork was great and the baby’s heart was beating at around 154 bpm. Week thirteen starts Friday and then it is just one more week until I am out of the first trimester. I was actually really confused by this. I had thought after twelve weeks I was in the second trimester, but I guess it starts in the fourteenth week. Eventually I will figure all of this out, maybe?

Anyway — I was sick most of the day yesterday (and this morning too). Wednesday’s are hard days for me. Tuesday night is when I teach my Constitution class. It ends around 9pm — close to when I normally go to bed. However, I’m usually so amped from teaching I cannot sleep or if I do sleep it is restless. I wake up Wednesday morning feeling all sorts of messed up. Next thing you know, I have a bad headache that just will not go away and a stomach that will not settle down. And though I know and understand why and have tried to account for the fact that “Wednesday’s are hard,” it is hard to not get frustrated with myself anyways.

Like with the fact that I have not worked out since a Monday short ride on the trainer or that not much has been done with the dissertation since I found out chapter five was approved (that changed this morning, but still). After several days of feeling like a not just like a normal functioning human being, but frankly like a total ball-buster, the house is a disaster again, dishes are piling up and my clothes are everywhere. I had that bathroom perfectly clean before Thanksgiving! How do things go downhill so quickly? Just a few days of feeling terrible and it feels like all hell breaks loose.

I know. I know. Take it easy. I’m trying. Yesterday, I finished the first Harry Potter book and read some Bulgakov. I didn’t cave and order a buffalo chicken sandwich (buffalo sauce being my ultimate craving right now) and made a healthy-ish lunch (black bean soup and homemade sour dough bread). Bruno took care of dinner.

Today it is only 9:40 in the morning and I’ve already gotten more done than I did yesterday. I worked on getting the complete dissertation put together (and learned I have no idea how to use Microsoft Word). I submitted a journal article. I will probably actually run today and make it to CrossFit. I know days are like this. I just wish I would have more patience with myself in the process.

xo, Ali

 

 

Monday (Ok, Ok, Tuesday) Miles : November 19 – 25, 2018

crossfit, monday miles, pregnancy, races, running, training

There’s a new game I like to play: What is Causing Ali’s Aches and Pains? Working out, sitting too much at a desk, or pregnancy. This has been the story the last two days as my tailbone aches and I wonder if this is from dead lifts last week or just general pregnancy or the fact that I did a lot of driving over the weekend. Or perhaps all of the above? After this post I’m making a call to the chiropractor.

This was my second week of consistent running. I’m not training for anything, but following Hal Higdon’s Winter training plan. A lot of the “running while pregnant” advice I read suggested going by minutes instead of miles. Supposedly, as you grow slower, it is less disheartening. I’m so grateful to be back at it again, I’m not sure how disheartened I would even be.

I will admit that first week out there was hard. I huffed and puffed. This week, the second week, was significantly better. I know I will continue to get slower, but I felt good. I did not feel like I was huffing or puffing. Instead, it felt leisurely, enjoyable, even if slow.

11 – 19 : 15ish minute run, 1.45 miles. 10:46/mile. CrossFit: Strength – build to three rep max for push-press in seven minutes. I managed eighty pounds, a PR. WOD – AMRAP 7 minutes, 10 push-presses @ 35 pounds, 30 single-unders, 3 double-under attempts. I managed six rounds plus five push-presses. I even managed successfully some of those double-unders.

11 – 20 : 45 minute run, 4.36 miles. 10:19/mile.

11 – 21 : 30 minute run, 2.8 miles. 10:34/mile. CrossFit: WOD – 40 calorie bike followed by 4 rounds – 8 split jerks (45 lbs.) and 8 dead lifts (85 lbs). This was hard. Dead lifts are hard for me. I have improved so much in my back squat, in really almost everything I have done in CrossFit except for the deadlift. I was supposed to do five rounds and could only manage four in 19 minutes 8 seconds.

11 – 22 : Thanksgiving! You know what this means…Turkey Trot! I was not planning on running one and then decided at the last minute to run the hometown trot. I’m glad I did, because I did much better than I thought I would be able to and felt damn good too. 3.15 miles in exactly 28 minutes, around 9ish per mile. Race report here.

11 – 23 : REST.

11 – 24 : REST.

11 – 25 : 60 minute run, 5.5 miles. 10:57/mile.

Totals: Miles run – 17.2 miles, 3 hours. CrossFit, 2 hours. 5 hours.

Onward to next week!

xo, Ali

The One with the Baby News

blogging, books, daily life, Harry Potter, health, pregnancy, running

Ok, ok so it has been almost three months since I have posted and with good reason too!

Things have been going on. And I am very happy to say that all of them are good.

I left you September 5 with some thoughts on working from home. Soon after, I ran Run Woodstock 5k and half-marathon. I ran just ok, actually terribly. I ran that race a half hour slower than I did at Run Legend. I knew it would be harder, but that I was that much slower bummed me out. I felt tired and exhausted. I had no idea why. I thought, perhaps, I was over-trained. This is probably true. I took some time off running.

runwoodstock

Me after the Hippie Half-Marathon at Run Woodstock. Probably pregnant here! 

I focused on teaching and my dissertation. I only have two more classes to teach right now and all my dissertation chapters are approved — I need do some edits and revisions, but I should be able to defend in February!

A little over two weeks after Run Woodstock, I still felt tired and exhausted. I was starting to get a little suspicious. On a Wednesday morning, I asked Bruno if we could pop by a Walgreens to grab a pregnancy test before we went to campus. Later that morning, I informed Bruno that yes, I was indeed pregnant. Very pregnant. Those lines were dark!

I’ll admit that I was surprised, but very pleased. We had wanted to start having kids as soon as we knew that I would have my dissertation done before baby no. 1 arrived, so the timing is very good (especially now that chapter five is approved). Baby C is due next year in early June. I will be waddling across that stage mid-May to get my Ph.D. diploma. Proudly waddling.

I want to be careful about how I write what I say next, especially because I know that I am very blessed and happy to be pregnant. I do not want to seem like I am complaining thoughtlessly or without compassion for women who have been struggling to get pregnant or who have lost babies.

That said, from about three days after I found out I was pregnant until probably about a week or two ago, I was having a very hard time. Normally, I’m an anxious person, but the increase of hormones made me well, frankly, depressed. I felt like a complete mess of vomit for the last several weeks and felt sick all the time. I could barely eat anything, barely cook anything because the smell of anything sent me running (the only running I did) to the toilet or trashcan. I regularly had severe headaches and was exhausted. I know. I know. All of this is normal. Many have gone through this before me and will do so afterwards. I feel silly for even complaining. And I’m lucky, happy, etc., but I would be lying if I said it was not hard.

The little energy I had was directed to prepping for class and crawling to the finish of writing this fifth chapter. I barely did anything else. I have no idea how women who go to regular jobs do it. There was a week that aside for teaching Tuesday night class, I barely left the house because I was afraid I would spend most of that time in a public restroom getting sick. This did little for the depression problem.

Quick shout out to Bruno for taking care of the majority of cooking and cleaning and having incredible patience during this time. Marry a man who, when you are having a meltdown because of how terrible you feel and how you feel bad for having a meltdown for how terrible you feel, surprises you by taking you to get a professional massage that very afternoon. Then, for his birthday, when you regain your ability to function like an actual human being bake him a layered coconut buttercream cake.

I feel better. I only get really sick every three days now, instead of what felt like every hour. Full disclosure: I worked with an orange Home Depot bucket that said “Let’s Do This!” next to my computer for just in case. I still went to CrossFit about 2-3 times a week, but the week before last I started running again. Last week I ran a Turkey Trot 5k. I am cooking again. I went on a full-blown baking spree last week in the kitchen. I’m doing my holiday re-read of Harry Potter. Rejoice! I am starting to feel, at least for now, like myself again. It feels good.

With that said, I’m hoping to finish the 2018 year of blogging and running strong. I am interested to see how running as a pregnant lady goes. It will be a new chapter in my life, one that I’m very happy to begin.

pregnant

xo, Ali

Thoughts on Working from Home

daily life, dissertation

A couple months ago, at a friend’s wedding a college friend of mine told me that it must be nice to work from home. You do not have to get dressed. You do not have to go anywhere. It seems really easy.

I get it. And I admit to enjoying the advantages of working from home. I can decide when I work out. There is nowhere I have to physically be. The flexibility is wonderful.

Recently an aunt of mine showed up to my house as a surprise. It was 10:30am. I was still in pajamas and the house was chaos. I woke up, poured myself some coffee, and started writing. So, yes, I was doing something, but I was kind of embarrassed to be a 28 year old woman still in pjs on before lunch on a Tuesday.

But I do not love working from home. For one thing, even though being a productive writer makes me happy, sitting around in pajamas all day does not. Being in my house all day makes me agitated, anxious even. Then there is the work/home separation. I wake up. I go to my desk. I work. When I make lunch, there it is, just sitting there. I cannot leave it. It lives with me. There is no end of the day. Even when I’m not working, it is there reminding me that I could be working.

One of the things I’m trying to make more an effort to do this semester is work on campus consistently. Even though I try to do working hours at home, it just is not the same. I need physical separation. I need to have that feeling of coming home from work. I was at work, but now I am home.

I’ve never been one for procrastination or putting things off, but I think going to campus allows for a little bit more order in the day. When I’m home, everything seems to meld together. I’m writing a dissertation and doing laundry. I’m sitting at my desk, but I’m aware, all-too-aware that the dishes need to be done and the living room is a mess. Mental energy.

I have been working in the library for a week now and it feels better. When I go home for the night, I know I’m done for the day. It makes a world of difference.

xo, Ali

Monday Miles : August 27 – September 2, 2018

crossfit, monday miles, running

Kind of a dud week. As I mentioned last week, I sprained my back. Even though it was recommended to me to not rest, I just felt so wiped out that I ended up resting anyway. It was not that my back was unbearable, but it was just that I had no “oomph.” My legs felt exhausted in not the good way. So, I decided to step it off. I’m a little bummed, because I’m not sure what this will mean for my 10k goals, but I already achieved what I wanted to achieve this year. Time off is fine.

I feel much better this week, although my back still pinches a bit. I’m still doing the Run Woodstock Funky Bus 5k on Friday and Hippie Half on Saturday, but only for fun. Even if it ends up being just a hike in the woods, I’ll be totally satisfied. I don’t expect a PR. And I’m not planning on running until this weekend, giving my legs lots of time off.

8-27 : Rest.

8-28 : Run. 4 miles. 9:53/mile. This run felt fine, but this is when I started noticing problems. I could hardly walk without pain the rest of the day. My left lower back felt like it seized up every few steps.

8-29 : CrossFit. WOD (heavily adapted for my back/lazy glutes) – 30 calories on rower. 25 burpees to bar. 40 single-arm presses. 10 lbs. 45 single-leg “squats.” On a single-leg sit down and get back up again. Turn those glutes on, baby! 25 box step-overs. I seriously have no idea how high my box was…just assume the shortest one. 110 foot tumbler pull. 135 lbs. Around 15:50 minutes. The calorie row and the burpees were the worst part for me. When I am on that assault bike, I swear that calorie counter refused to budge. We were give two minutes to do the 30 calories and I just barely made it. And burpees. Winded, every time. It was a fun work out though. I was glad to be able to do something with my back problems.

8-30 : Run. 4.85 miles. 9:15/mile. For the most part, I felt significantly better on this run. My back did not hurt at all, but I just felt tired. Very, very tired.

8-31 : Run. 2.65 miles. First two miles around 10:00/mile. I walked the rest. It felt so hard and I was running so easy. So, I just decided I was done. No running until Run Woodstock. It is time for a break.

9-1 : Yoga with Adriene for Lower Back.

9-2 : Yoga with Adriene for Lower Back and Hips.

Totals: Run – Around 11 miles. CrossFit – 1 hour.

Plans for this week: lots of yoga. No running until Run Woodstock. Take it easy.

xo, Ali

Favorite Things : August 25-31, 2018

favorite things

I cannot that after this weekend summer is over. It flew by. I’ll admit to being a total cliché. I love fall, pumpkin spice lattes, and hot apple cider. I’m ready for the season change, but I’m not ready with how quickly time seems to be going.

I’d say it has been a successful summer. I finished two chapters and had them approved. I raced my first triathlon and two trail races. We went to Frankenmuth, Michigan and to Nashville, Tennessee. We went camping.

This fall I start teaching my first college class. I’m nervous, which I think is reasonable. I’m also very excited. I have been waiting a long time for this moment. Tuesday is the first day. I have not been able to touch my dissertation, because I want to make sure I’m as prepared as I can be. I feel so lucky and blessed to finally be able to do this that I want it to go as well as it reasonably can.

And so, without further ado, this week’s favorite things:

I mean I don’t think I’m bored, but I have always dreamed of doing an endurance event.

Life advice: Send one scary email a day.

Professional athletes with full-time jobs.

10 Simple Truths Revealed by CrossFit.

You’re gonna live in a van down by the river!

I love the “café” area of this house. So cute!

Running to stretch our limits.

Have a great weekend!

xo, Ali

 

 

Bound for the Floor (Strengthening Those Glutes)

crossfit, running

On Tuesday morning I went for a four mile run. I felt fine. It was nothing difficult, just a quick jog before we went to work on campus. I felt stiff for the first mile, a common occurrence lately. I loosened up, finished the run, no problems. I did some legs up the wall after the shower. All was fine.

As I was walking to campus I felt it: a back spasm in my left side. My lower back began to dully ache. I kept walking, but every few steps my back would spasm again. It was like a jolt through my lower back and butt. Walking began to hurt. I thought it would go away. It proceeded to get more and more painful, because you know, I just sit around all day working on my dissertation. You know your back and hips love sitting.

So, yesterday I went to see a chiropractor. I haven’t seen one in years. I also have not seen my massage therapist since June. I’m also guilty of starting to neglect the little mobility things I’ve been doing to keep things moving nice and easy. He told me what I already knew. My left hip is tight. My left glute is not firing. My right leg is behaving nicely, but it is always that left leg that I have problems with.

After some stretching and some bone cracking, I was out the door. I was still sore, but my back was no longer spasming. I could not walk to the chiropractor from my house, but I could walk back.

I’ll be bound for the floor with hip bridges, single-leg bridges, side-bridges, and clamshells trying to get my glutes to fire. Thankfully, thankfully, my doctor told me that time off was not going to help fix my back pain. Instead I really needed to make sure my glutes are turned on before I did anything like running and lifting especially because I do a lot of lifting. I was so scared I was going to told to take time off. I like this plan better.

I went to CrossFit yesterday and I adapted some things. I did not squats, but mainly practiced sitting on a box and getting back up again to fire things up. That said, I did plenty of burpees to bar. I think that’s enough, right?

Today my back is still sore, but I can tell things are improving. I plan on hitting the floor before I hit the pavement this afternoon for a run. Here’s to hoping for the best!

xo, Ali

Race Report : Robert Huntley Memorial Mini-Triathlon in Coldwater, Michigan (August 25, 2018)

races, triathlon

It happened! I am officially a triathlete. After the race, I told Bruno I’ve been adding a lot to my identity this year. I’m now a trail runner, a Crossfitter (is that a word?), and now, finally, a triathlete. I also feel like a runner again. I keep saying it, but I do not take it for granted. I’m still so grateful. There are only a few months left in the year and so far, I’ve been consistently active in all of them.

But I digress! The race! The Robert Huntley Memorial Mini-Triathlon is a local race in Coldwater, Michigan. The proceeds go to scholarships for Coldwater cross country runners, so it was a race I was especially happy to pay for.

I woke up close to 5 in the morning and did my normal routine. I made coffee, drank water, put the dishes away (this is the way the first ten minutes of every single day of my life goes!). Bruno woke up and started making me breakfast, so I hopped in the shower. I ate breakfast, oatmeal with strawberries and granola. Bruno brought most of my stuff in the truck. I double-checked to make sure I had everything. We left at around 6:15.

I do not know why, but the quiet morning drive to a race is one of my favorite parts. It is dark. There is hardly anyone out on the road. It feels peaceful. Even though I always feel like I’m scrambling to get things ready, the drive to a race always calms me down. I drank some more coffee and water. We listened to tunes and talked about my plans for the race.

It was beginning to storm by the time we arrived. I checked-in and set my bike and my first transition stuff up (I had no idea how to rack my bike). I kept everything in a plastic bag, hoping that it would not get soaked. It actually ended up working out, my towel was a little damp, but my shoes and socks were dry. At this time, every time it would lightning, the race would be postponed for another half-hour.

We waited in the truck and every time it seemed like the storm was ending, lighting would strike again. I broke the no-new things rule for racing and ate one of those Honey Stinger waffles. It was delicious. In the words of Madonna, absolutely no regrets. Bruno read his kindle while I continuously refreshed the doppler radar. Around 9:30 I noticed more people getting out of their vehicles and heading up, so I figured I would follow. Good thing I did, because the race was about to start!

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I’m so excited, I just can’t hide it!

The swim portion started in the lake. Coldwater Lake is shallow. I think they said only eight feet deep in its deepest parts. We walked out to the lake and waded to the starting line. I did not feel too nervous at this point. The water was cold, but I felt like I acclimated quickly. I just was ready to get swimming. The whistle blew and the gun went off and we all started swimming.

And it was like I forgot how. My heart was racing, not from fear, but I felt way more out of breath than normal. When I swim in the pool, I swim three strokes then breathe to my right, swim three strokes then breathe to my left. It was like I completely forgot how to do that. I was breathing almost every stroke, then I would stop every few strokes to see where I was, making sure I was heading in the right direction. It was so shallow that sometimes I would take a few steps, swim again. I eventually got myself to do some consistent normal swimming, but I’m sure it was not efficient or effective. I’m not sure what happened. I was not afraid of swimming in the lake. I felt safe. I’m not sure if it was lack in trust in myself or what. Next time. Next time.

40063674_725840144414981_5625766773841199104_n

The part I was actually most nervous about was the transition from swimming to biking. We were helped out of the water and I waddled, I mean ran, back into the transition where I changed into my socks and shoes. This was actually not as difficult as I feared. Little things. I put on my helmet, grabbed my bike, and as soon as I left the transition area, I hoped on and was back on my way. Once again, not as bad as I feared. All these little things that I was afraid of: not being able to get my socks in shoes on over my half-dried feet, struggling to get on my bike (weird fear, right?), or that I would have problems getting my helmet on. None of it happened. It went as smoothly as I could hope for a beginner.

The bike part was my favorite part. My odometer was not working because of the rain. I could not get it to turn on and tell me how fast I was, so as of now, I have no idea how fast I did those six miles. I just tried to go as fast as I could. It was an out and back. Some people were wearing headphones on the bike which made me a little nervous in passing them. I tried to say “left!” as loudly as I could. My fear of having a collision never happened. The only difficult part was the wind on the way back, but I just kept pumping my legs as hard as I could. The best part was a cute blond three year old shouting on top of her lungs to me, “YOU CAN DO IT!” Little girl, you had no idea how much I needed that. Also, you are the Rob Schneider of the mini-triathlon. I mean that as a compliment.

The first mile of the run was the second hardest part. I know that running post-bike does not feel good. It is like your muscles are in whip-lash mode. It took me awhile to get my watch started, but when I looked at my pace I was initially going at a 12 minute mile pace. My plan for the run was to take the first half mile to warm up and increase pace as I went along. I ended up finishing the first mile in around 10 minute pace. And then, just to show you how hard that first mile was in comparison to the last two, the second mile I ran in 8:30 minutes and the last in 8:15 minutes.

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Pace checking.

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I did it!

I finished! I’m still not sure of my time. They are supposed to be eventually posted on facebook and as I’m not sure of our exact starting time, I can’t really estimate.

This race was such a reminder that doing new things can be so rewarding. It was also another reminder of the happiness of the beginner mentality. So many of the faster triathletes, the ones with carbon triathlon bikes and aero helmets who seemed like they really knew what they were doing, were so kind and encouraging. They were happy to answer questions about the course and questions about transitions. Some cheered when I saw them on the out and back of the run. When I told a few it was my first triathlon they were especially encouraging. It really helped with feeling intimidated. They really helped me celebrate the joy of accomplishing something brand new.

xo, Ali

Monday Miles : August 20-26, 2018

lifting, monday miles, running, swimming, training, triathlon

The triathlon did happen! There was about an hour delay because of the lightning, but as we started getting closer to ten in the morning, the storms cleared up. I’ll write more on that in my race report for tomorrow as it was quite a day.

The next races I have are the Funky Bus 5k and Hippie Half-marathon at Run Woodstock. I have been planning on running those for fun though and will mainly transition for training for a later fall 10k. The plan is to still maintain swimming and biking once a week. It was nice not just running, even though running will always be my favorite. Hopefully in the spring or next summer, I will do a sprint triathlon. I’m not sure if I would be ready for an Olympic distance. Someday, but I would like to do a few sprints first.

This week brought me back to the track for the first time in a few months. I took it easy on CrossFit getting ready for Saturday’s race. I feel good!

8 – 20 : Morning. Swim. 100m drills, 100m breast stroke. 3 rounds of 1x 100 meter free-style, 2x 50m free-style. 200m free-style and breast stroke. 1000m.

8 – 21 : Afternoon. Run. Easy 3.5 miles. 10:22/mile pace. CrossFit. WOD: for time, 20 ring-rows, 30 over-head squats, 20 ring-rows, 20 over-head squats, 20 ring-rows, 10 over-head squats, 20 ring-rows. Over-head squats are no joke! I started out using a bar bell during my warm-up and the coach told me it might be best for me to switch to a PVC pipe. I trusted his wisdom. It was the right move, because there is no way I would have been able to get through that even with a bar. 11 minutes 36 seconds. Romwod.

8 – 22 : Morning. 1 mile warm-up. 6x 400 meters with a 200m “float.” 1 mile cool-down. I tried to maintain between 7:30-7:40 pace for all my 400m. I think I was mostly successful. The work-out called for 8 repeats, but at around 8 in the morning, the football team started showing up and frankly, I kind of felt silly being out there. So I left and continued my run before heading back home. Next time I’ll show up to the track a little earlier. 4 miles.

8 – 23 : Rest ‘n Romwod.

8 – 24 : Rest ‘n Romwod.

8 – 25 : Coldwater Mini-Triathlon! 300 yard swim, 6 mile bike, and 3 mile run. As of right now, I still do not have my time (although I can say I ran a 9/mile average pace for run…my first mile was so slow!). Romwod.

8 – 26 : 5 miles. 9:46/mile. It was so humid my glasses kept fogging up throughout my run. I swear in places I did not even know I could sweat.

Totals : 1 hour CrossFit, 1275m swam, 6 miles biked, 15.5 miles run.

xo, Ali