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

 

 

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

Talkin’ Insomnia Blues, Pt. II

health

I was up until 4am last night/today. And I woke up around 7:30ish today. If ever there was a slow moving zombie, that would be me today. I think the worst part about not being able to sleep is not necessarily how tired I feel, but how overwhelmed I feel. Little things feel like big things (as in, hello administrative tasks that should have been done a couple weeks ago).

Unfortunately I am not a productive-type insomniac. I am more of a let’s search zillow for Connecticut coastal homes, search through someone’s facebook photographs to see what brand of bike they rode in their 70.3 Ironman (it was a Trek road bike in case you are wondering), look up the price for said bike, search amazon for gluten-free, grain-free brownie mixes, search amazon for grain-free “flours,” and of course, researching the hell out of insomnia-type insomniac. Not to mention I filled out the goal-setting section of my new planner, thought about my work out schedule post half-marathon, determined which local CSA I would like to get my veggies from this summer, researched local farms for local meat, and scanned through Kelly Starrett’s Becoming A Supple Leopard.

I do usually start out embracing the insomnia, but as time goes by, I usually start to get more anxious. Mainly the concern revolves around: how am I going to get things done tomorrow? And it is a fair question. Usually post-insomnia days, I am groggy, grumpy, and if I do not develop a headache, it is a miracle. Mainly it is hard to think. I still get stuff done, but not the best. And mostly the day is spent feeling like I am running to catch up with the sun.

Do you deal with insomnia? Any advice or tips? I’m already on the not drinking coffee, not drinking alcohol, no screens (at least until the insomnia kicks in) before bed train. I take magnesium. I drink tea. I think grateful thoughts. Is there something I’m missing?

xo, Ali

 

 

Sans-Coffee, but with Hope

health

I am on day two sans-coffee, sans-sugar, sans-gluten, sans-dairy, sans-all-my-favorite-things-to-eat. I’m grateful my endoscopy came back clear, but I had another bout of stomach problems on Friday complete with a lot of insomnia, anxiety, all the usual woes. Nothing as bad as what it was in March, but enough for me to say, “Let’s just find something to figure this out.”

Dr. Google highly recommended this book, so now I’m following the elimination phase for the next couple of weeks until I start adding food in to see what is causing the problem. Her plan is a little too restrictive for me insofar as it is especially low-carb. I don’t want to mess around with that with the half coming up, so I’m following it, but plan to have some non-grain carbs (sweet potatoes, beets, etc.) with every meal.

So far, so good. I felt hungry yesterday, but ate more today, which helped. Mostly I think the hardest thing will be boredom from lack of food choices, but it is only for a couple weeks. I know I can get through that. I get that it is a necessary part of figuring out what foods are causing my problems and what foods are not.

What really is sad is the lack of coffee. Rooibos tea in the morning just does not kick it in the same way. And I would know. I had a low-grade headache all of yesterday. And then, I accidentally took a two hour nap this afternoon. But — some good news — I already noticed that I did not have as much acid reflux as I normally do and I am hoping in time it will help with my insomnia.

I’m feeling a little more hopeful today. I think sometimes going to the doctor and waiting, waiting, waiting makes me feel more passive, rather than an active participant in my own health. I’ll admit to being a little bit of a control freak, so it clearly is enough to drive me little bit crazy. But I can do something. I can start with what I know. I clearly have some sort of allergic inflammation going on, so hopefully this will be the beginning of feeling much better.

xo, Ali

 

And the Waiting Continues

health

A brief update post-endoscopy…well, several hours post-endoscopy.

The good news? I have no ulcers and no cancer. My stomach, according to the doctor, actually looks pretty good. All of that is a relief.

The bad news? They still do not know what is causing my eosinophilia in my blood. They took biopsies of my stomach and intestine to check for celiac disease and eosinophilic gastroenteritis.

And so, once again, I’m waiting.

xo, Ali

The Ice Cream Run

health, running

I have all sorts of arbitrary rules for myself. Examples: I can only run well in the morning. I can only have a productive day if I wake up at 4am. I can only call to cancel appointments after hours when I can reach voicemail because I’m afraid of disappointing the receptionist (what…only me?).

All this to say, if things do not happen specifically when and how I think they should happen, most likely I will not do them. It becomes a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. Wake up late? Well the day is shot (I am working on that). Morning run not done? Well, try again tomorrow. Tomorrow is a new day. A new day for a perfect day.

Well, we drove to Michigan from Connecticut today. I have an endoscopy and biopsy for my stomach tomorrow and I have no idea how I’ll feel the rest of the day. This could on mean one thing: I had to run today.

And boy did I fight it. I mean this is against everything I stand for. Running? After five? Are you kidding me? So. We went and got ice cream instead. Yes. Yes. I know. I’m supposed to be avoiding those eight allergens, but I took a break (I mean…I needed a break after like three days…) in Philadelphia and I declared to Bruno, “This. This will be my last treat.” At this point I declared the run was not happening and enjoyed a decadent ice cream treat made with real milk, not from the almond or coconut variety (ain’t nothing like the real thing, baby).

And then get this. I actually went for a run afterwards. I drove to the rec center after seven. And I ran, not after five pm, but in the actual evening — when usually I’m reading on the couch and getting ready for bed. I ran five miles, not just five miles. No. No. Five really good miles where I felt great. I mean if I can have a great run with a stomach full of ice cream, who knows what else I can do?

I’m glad I did it. I ran off some nerves about tomorrow (am I going to be awake and feel this thing in my throat and stomach?). And so, now I can hydrate like a camel for the next few hours, and be satisfied that even though most of this day was sat doing nothing in a truck, I still accomplished something.

But even more important than all that, I learned something about making stupid rules for myself. They are stupid. I can run later in the day. I can run after eating ice cream (or whatever noble lie ice cream is replaced with). I can quit being precious about my time being exactly how I want it to be.

Tune in next week when I have to learn this lesson all over again!

xo, Ali

 

Monday Miles : March 26 – April 1, 2018

health, monday miles, running

This week was kind of a wash. I was having some pain in my right hamstring. I felt exhausted (probably due to missing some nutrients from whatever is going on with my stomach  — I mean you should see my eyes right now, I look haggard).

Plus, I’m trying to get this damn third chapter edited to a place where I am satisfied with it and can turn it in to my advisor. That is basically all I did today. How many pages did I edit? Around four. I did not even get distracted by facebook or Instagram. With almost thirty pages left to go through, at this rate I’ll turn it in the end of April. Good grief.

But I digress. It was a good week. I missed running though and was happy to get back at it today. I added some evening yoga to basically signal: ENOUGH. You are done with the day. CHILL.

3 / 26 : Did I do anything today? I seriously cannot remember. I need to start to write these things down…

3 / 27 : 3 miles with Bruno. I mainly vented about my chapter. He listened. It band & Core strength. I decided this day that I was exhausted and decided I would not run the rest of the week. PM – Yoga with Adriene True Day 1.

3 / 28 : AM – MTV Pilates, JasYoga Hip Stability; Yoga with Adriene True Day 2.

3 / 29 : AM – JasYoga Hip Stability; 100 clam-shells each side, 50 Jane Fonda’s; 30 x single leg deadlifts; 5 x 45s planks; declining sets push-ups, 10, 9, 8,…etc. Throughout the day – Around 100 squats. PM – Yoga with Adriene True Day 3.

3 / 30 : Short pilates session with Kristin McGee — this was no joke. PM – Yoga With Adriene True Day 4. Throughout the day – Around 100 squats.

3 / 31 : JasYoga Hip Stability; 100 clam-shells each side, 50 Jane Fonda’s, ?? 45 s planks. PM – Yoga with Adriene True Day 5. Throughout the day – Around 100 squats.

4 /1 : Yoga with Adriene True Day 6.

Total : 3 miles. Yes, that makes me nervous, but I know that as long as I hit my runs this week, I should be fine for April 28.

xo, Ali

 

Some Thoughts On Food

health

There have been some leftover Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips in the fridge from the pots du chocolat I made on Saturday night. As a human being, I love chocolate chips. The other day, while grabbing a glass of water in the kitchen, I opened the fridge and grabbed a handful.

“What are you doing?” my husband turned food-Gestapo asked me.

“Eating some chocolate chips,” I said sheepishly in between chews.

I had been caught, chocolate-handed. You see, there’s a new regime in the house. The days of what I liked to refer to as healthy well-balanced eating are over. Even though I have another two weeks until the endoscopy, the bloodwork doesn’t lie. Something is wrong and I’ve been put on the dietary restrictions to fix it.

Here’s something you have to understand about me. Nothing makes me roll my eyes harder than the word cleanse (Isn’t that what your liver is for?). I went gluten-free once in college because I thought it would fix my migraines, but by gluten-free I mean gluten-free except for Bud Light and Papa John’s. I eat healthy insofar as I have a green smoothie for breakfast and have never met a vegetable I didn’t love — but restriction is not in my vocabulary. Sundays are for ice cream and Tuesdays are for cheeseburgers. Those are the rules. Or were the rules.

So me and this list of eight things that the doctor oh-so-kindly handed to me last week Wednesday with the advice of “lots of fruits and vegetables,” have started up this week. This list includes: gluten, dairy, soy, fish, shellfish, nuts, peanuts, and eggs.

And I’m bitter about it. I’m bitter because I still do not feel well and am not sleeping well. That’s enough to make anyone cranky. I’m also bitter because instead of the delicious weekly ice cream treat from the local ice cream parlor this past Sunday, I had some coconut ice cream instead. People, it is not the same. I’m bitter because bacon cheeseburgers with fries are my favorite meals and even though it has been only two days, I feel like everything I love food-wise has been taken from me. I’m basically in mourning.*

But I’m also bitter, because I really do not want to be that person that says “oh, I can’t eat that,” launching into some lengthy explanation. I pride myself on not being that person. I pride myself for caring about what I eat just enough, but not too much (insert quote here from Allan Bloom about people caring too much about having the perfect body, and not at all about the perfect soul). But until I know what is going on, I actually have to be that person. Not because I care about having the “perfect body” but because if I don’t, I’ll be sick and not be able to work on my dissertation. I won’t be able to go anywhere in public because I’ll be too afraid of getting sick. I’ll have to cancel things because even though I felt fine two hours ago, suddenly I’m sick (all things that have actually happened in the past week).

I know that this is the new normal and that within a month or two (if I keep having to do this) I’ll be fine, used to it. I mean I once went five months between 2016-17 without drinking and craft beer is on par with cheeseburgers, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Bob Dylan as one of my all-time favorite things. And it was fine. So fine that for me, not drinking for Lent (and probably now onwards until we know what is up) has been a piece of (gluten-free, dairy-free) cake.

And so that I can hopefully function as a normal human being for the month of April, we decided to start with sans-gluten and dairy. The no-gluten is so far going better than the no-dairy. I mean, those chocolate chips, so delicious, right? But I ate them all before Bruno could stop me, a service to myself, and so I’ll start the no-dairy for real this time. Onward.

*Once, years ago, my sister said to my mom, “On my way home I saw a dead possum on the side of the road. It looked about as dramatic as Ali acts.”

Favorite Things : March 17 – 23, 2018

favorite things, health

A couple weeks ago I mentioned that I was pretty sick, as in, can barely keep down any food sick. I went to see a doctor, went to the hospital for an ultrasound, and some bloodwork. I’ve still been in a lot of pain, but it depends on the day. I had thought some probiotics and yogurt was making it better, but then yesterday, I had a pretty bad day again. Mainly just sick, in bed, researching symptoms, and watching Happy Endings on Hulu(why was this show cancelled?!). Except this time, I’m pretty sure it was a little bit self-induced.

I had a follow-up appointment with the doctor on Wednesday. Turns out my bloodwork showed a high amount of eosinophils, which is apparently a white blood cell connected with food allergies (I’m not a doctor, my authority is my lady doctor). The good news is, I feel like I have some evidence my pain is not in my head. The bad news is I was gifted with a list of eight foods to avoid (you know, dairy, gluten, soy, fish, eggs, etc.) and told to basically just work my way through them and see what is up. Then I was scheduled for an EGD (I’m not even going to type out the full name), but it’s one of those scans where they stick a camera down your throat and take pictures of your innards while you are looped up on a sedative. It’s in April, but I’m assuming, given how I’ve been feeling this last month, they will find a mess.

So I rewarded myself with a cheeseburger (completely rational, right?), the last cheeseburger (at least for now). And I was up at around 2:30 Thursday morning and have been sick ever since, munching on gluten free crackers and ginger tea.

And with that, I will end the health update.

Without further ado, this week’s favorite things:

How we spend our days and purpose and, of course, running.

I live in Michigan and had no idea about the Michigan Ice Festival.

Another great blog post from my friend Emily, with the always important reminder: act how you want to feel.

As long as I can remember my favorite genre of books have been memoirs. Then when I was in high school I read Smashed by Koren Zailckas approximately fifty million times and my favorite sub-set of memoir became the addiction memoir (I love human self-overcoming). I told the aforementioned Emily this week that I was becoming tired of memoirs and joking said I was losing my empathy, as in, “get your shit together.” Within ten minutes of the phone conversation though, I discovered a new memoir by Leslie Jamison, called The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath, which looks phenomenal and I think Bruno already pre-ordered for me. In a surprising twist, Jamison has been referred to as the “Queen of Empathy” for her previous collection essays called The Empathy Exams. Go figure and point taken, universe.

I have mixed feelings about Esther Perel, but I thought her advice on marriage after children worth booknoting.

The science of running breaks (not that I want to take one right now).

We have friends coming over for dinner tomorrow night. I’m thinking (as a last hoorah) some croque-monsieurs (made with homemade sourdough bread, of course), arugula salad with this vinaigrette, and finished off with some chocolate pots de crème.

xo, Ali