life, in a nutshell – an update

It has been a bit since I posted about something other than “training” — pretend those are air quotes — or upcoming races or upcoming events to promote upcoming races, so I figured it was time for some non-running banter. Here we go.

Books! – many. The most recent ones I’ve read include:

  • Matt Richtel’s A Deadly Wandering – which will stay with you a long time after you’re done and might make you neurotic upon seeing other drivers texting/facebooking/tweeting/whatevering while they’re supposed to be driving (agh! freaking A, people!)
  • Dalton Conley’s Parentology – which, if you are a parent, will probably make you laugh and scratch your head a little bit and probably judge the eff out of him for his parenting ways. If you’re not a parent but still like some good ol fashioned social science reading, I think it’s still an enjoyable read.
  • Chris Cleave’s Little Bee – a quick departure for me from my usual nonfiction preferences and a book that has been out for a few years (?) now and, I think, has been pretty popular. It’s good and fast — think airport reading — but also kinda haunting. It contains lots of suicidal undertones from the unstable narrator, which can be (understandably) a bit unnerving at times.
  • Julie Tupler’s Maternal Fitness – homework reading. All about getting #laborstrong, baby.
  • Lisa Genova’s Still Alice – naturally, I’m partial to the protagonist’s name. I didn’t see this in theatres last fall, and generally speaking, I either read the book or watch the movie; I don’t do both because of how hugely disappointed I usually am. This handful-of-years-old novel is also a bit haunting and damn heartbreaking. As much as I know, I don’t have any familial connection to Alzheimer’s, but seeing the super-smart and super-talented and super-everything protagonist slowly succumb to early-onset AD just sucks (no spoilers there, promise). Truth be told, since reading it, anytime I fail to remember something, I automatically think that I am showing symptoms of EOAD, which is horrible because the pregnancy has given me swiss cheese for brains most days.
  • Amy Poehler’s Yes Please – I adore her. Just adore. Her autobio is a ton of fun to read not only because of her extensive Chicago experiences and comedic backgrounds but also because she just seems like such a cool human being. Her writing is more funny than serious, but she definitely has some great little nuggets of wisdom for readers, including my favorite — be more kind to yourself and talk to yourself as if you’re 90. In other words, whenever you’re unduly fretting about something, ask yourself if it’ll matter when you’re 90. No? Move the eff on, sister. It’s really that easy.

Disneyland! Oh, the magic of the happiest place on earth. Mid-month, my folks flew into SFO from Ohio, and the five of us drove down to Anaheim to meet my sister and her 3 boys, who had also flown in from Ohio, for a good 4-5 days at Disneyland and California Adventure. It was everyone’s (except our) first time at Disneyland, and it was amazing, especially since we were a party of 9 with four children aged 12 and under (3, 3, 5, and 12). Southern California gave us an abundance of sunshine (as usual), pretty perfect weather, and tons and tons of memories. My folks hadn’t been out to CA since Mother’s Day ’14, and my sis and her kids had never been out here, so it was just fantastic. I can’t wait to do it again. We have so many pictures from the trip, but I’ll just post these two because the look of terror/joy on the kids’ faces is just priceless.

splash mountain - 2015

space mountain - 2015

The pregnancy – all’s well. Some days I think that it is moving along really quickly, and other days I feel like I’ve been pregnant for-ev-er. I’m obviously really grateful that the pregnancy is healthy and that Kiddo Dos is well, but I feel like compared to the first time around, the novelty of pregnancy — for lack of a better phrase — just isn’t there. The first time around, it was all whoa! my boobs are so big! My belly button has popped out! look how huge my stomach is! This time around, those expressions of self-entertainment are more tempered with sentiments like fuck, how are my boobs already so big? or crap, I don’t remember being this big until my Xth month or whatever. At the same time though — and even though I said that I wouldn’t talk about running, I have to at least mention it — my running is way stronger the second time around. It’s just a different experience. I don’t want to say I’m “over” being pregnant because I still have a long way to go, and really, I have nothing to complain about, but I guess this time around it’s not something that I’ve been fixated on like I was the first time. I’m definitely not wishing it away because I know that life with two small children will be absolutely crazy, so I’m just reveling in the time that we still have together as a family of three.

take your kid to work day. she was the only mini software engineer in a tutu or leotard.
take your kid to work day. she was the only mini software engineer in a tutu or leotard.

midwest-bound! Pretty stoked that A and I will be going to Ohio for about two weeks in the beginning of June. This will likely be our only time out in the midwest this year (since my due date is August 17), and it’ll be nice to see my family again plus some extended family that’s scattered throughout northeast Ohio. What’s super awesome about this trip is that my brother and his family will also be coming in from Texas, so I’ll get to see my bro and his wife for the first time in over two years (!), AND I’ll finally get to meet my more-than-one-year-old nephew for the first time. A will be really stoked to meet her other cousin whom she has heard so much about for the past year. My BFF in Ohio is also pregnant, a few weeks ahead of me, so it’ll be great to see her in all her pregnant glory right before she pops, too :) #babiesfordays

The #RinnStone wedding – Bay Area weddings sure are pretty. Attending this last weekend was just a delight. Erin was one of the few folks I knew out here before we moved and is a longtime friend from Boston/Chicago ’10 training, back when we both were living in Chicago.


That’s about it. Have a great weekend!

Pregnancy and running update from the halfway+ mark

Hard to believe that I’m already past the halfway point with this pregnancy. I’m happy to report that all is well, and Kiddo Dos and I are both healthy. I don’t have a recent ultrasound pic to post, but last I saw, he/she looked good, and last I heard, the heartbeat was strong — all good things, all good things.

I thought it could be interesting to see what my running has looked like this far into the pregnancy. When I was pregnant with A, I wasn’t using dailymile or strava or Garmin to track my mileage — just an old school, pen-and-paper log — so I can’t easily compare mileage and such from pregnancy 1 to pregnancy 2. As much as I can tell, my pregnancy gestational weeks begin each Monday, so for the most part, the mileage coincides with my usual Monday-Sunday training weeks. It’s really more for my own entertainment than anything, so I’m not too worried about being super meticulous with my bookkeeping.

Here’s how it has shaken down so far:

Gestational week 0-1 75.35 peak of 50k training
1-2 53.1
2-3 36.5
3-4 44.87 50k race unknowingly pregnant, though I had a hunch…
4-5 27.51
5-6 0 feeling like ass – hi, first trimester!
6-7 0 feeling like ass/family in town
7-8 0 feeling like ass/in the Caribbean with my family
8-9 16.8
9-10 0 feeling like ass
10-11 5.1
11-12 11.32
12-13 20.61
13-14 19.8
14-15 20.8
15-16 13.58 408k race
16-17 0 feeling like ass
17-18 25.41
18-19 21.27 5k s.i.b. race win pushing A!
19-20 28.36 5k wildflower race running/pushing A
20-21 9.1
21-22 31.51
22-23 12.3 in Disneyland most of the week with family
23-24 3.2 (as of Monday)
total: 476.49

As you can see, pregnancy can somewhat unpredictably affect mileage and training. I say ‘somewhat’ because I assumed, based on my first pregnancy, that I’d allow my mileage to tank. When I’m in the throes of marathon training, I usually peak around 70-75 mpw, and the low-end of my base is in the 50s. I’m not marathon training, so I’m genuinely happy to be in the 20s or, if I’m feeling great, the 30s. Likewise, if I feel like ass — and as my little chart above details, there have been days and weeks when I have felt like ass and when sleeping > running — I’m not stressing about missing a run or two (or five or whatever).

I wrote it before, and I’ll write it again: it is so critical to listen to your body — and your medical professional overseeing your pregnancy– when you’re expecting. This isn’t a time for heroics. If your practitioner says you can run, and you feel well doing it (and afterward), by all means, have a blast. Don’t feel bad about yourself, or your identity as a runner, or god forbid, your pregnancy, if you can’t run or just don’t feel like running. It will always be there.

Being able to race the few times I have so far in my pregnancy has been a lot of fun, especially since getting A involved. Running without expectations has been mentally refreshing as well. I’m excited to get back to the grind of training and working toward PRs, but I am also delighted to be in this sweet spot of running for the hell of running (and to prep for that 1-hour labor & delivery I’m fantasizing about…).

I have been surprised at how strong I have been feeling lately on my runs, averaging in the low-8s for many of my weekday miles, and while I’m sure that won’t last for much longer, I’m enjoying it while I still can. I sometimes forget that inherent to every run these days is basically a weightlifting workout, since I’m hauling around 15 pounds +/- more than my usual weight, but dammit if this doesn’t mean that this kid and I are getting stronger with each mile we share. The unsolicited news on the street from mostly strangers is that I’m having a boy, based on the very scientific way that I’m carrying, because apparently, when most of your pregnancy is concentrated in your midsection, that means it’s a boy because he needs lots of room to forcefully kick and stretch his legs outward. Whatever. Everyone’s an expert.

That’s about it for now. Coming up next is a half marathon down in San Luis Obispo on Sunday with Erica! It should be a fun experience and a really pretty course. I have no idea how I’ll fare — I know I’m aerobically capable of running 13.1, though in terms of my pace, your guess is as good as mine — but it’ll be a blast regardless. These things typically are.

Ruminating on my love of the run