Thursday, January 29, 2009

TIART: Why Didn't They Get It? The Marathon Explained

What is it that attracts us to the marathon? What is so special that we give us so much and run for so long just for the pleasure of yet running more on the big day Why do we do it over and over? How do you explain the mysterious pull of the marathon? Why do you run marathons?

The very first man to run a "marathon" died at the end. 26.2 miles was a true test of strength. Then again, he was naked, shoeless, and didn't have water stops, GU, and live music every few miles.

I was first "attracted" to marathons in college when my roommate and I made life-long goal lists. We set a goal to run a marathon before we graduated and ran the Bend Oregon marathon in 5:45 (pretty slow considering it was all down hill). We wanted to do it just because a marathon seemed so foreign and outrageous.

Last year I decided to run another marathon - this time it was to see if I could. I started running again as a New Year's resolution and the resolution stuck - I was addicted. So I wanted to see what my mind could do. I remember a phrase from a long time ago - "the mind tires before the body" - marathons are the true test of this notion. 13miles? Fine - difficult, but do-able. 20miles? Hard, you start wondering why. 26miles? A true test. 26.2? Why in the world did they add the .2 - why couldn't Marathon be closer to Athens? The finish line? Total accomplishment.

Take it and Run Thursday: Running Through Transitions

Every week, a great running networking site posts a topic for "Take it and Run Thursday" - this week, it's "Running Through Transitions." This is my first week actually writing on the topic because it resonated so well when I read it.

To me transition means change. It means having to be flexible and not insisting on the norm or comfort zone(s) because these don't exist anymore. Transition means giving up some things and gaining others - usually, transitions are a good thing. I think.

We have a few transitions coming up:
  • My company is working through the economic roller coaster
  • Matt and I are moving - initially we had slated February 26th but the girl who wants to take over our current apartment is living in a hotel until we move out, so the new move date? February 13th - it's going to be a busy two weeks!
  • I just became an "Ambassador" for my favorite clothing company - this means I'm going to be in some of their posters and postcards ... the catch? The photo shoot is in a week or two - I'll be 15-16 weeks pregnant and looking more like a before picture than a fitness icon. But the truth? I'll be a mommy-to-be on the run - and that makes me happy.
  • Most important, we're pregnant with TWINS! (side note, we learned what the nurse thinks their sexes are today - but it's super top secret until confirmed)
So what does running have to do with it? I run because I can. I run because it makes me feel good. I run because it makes transitions a lot easier. Work stress? Go for a job. Moving stress and OD'ing from packing? Some hill sprints are in order. Ambassador? Well, I run, therefore I can spandex. TWINS?! That one we'll see - running is certainly helping me think through this pregnancy - it's my time to be alone and I don't think I'm going to get much alone time in a few months.

Running through transitions means breathing, reflecting or just turning your brain off, and getting through the transition to the finish line - the change. Running through means beating the obstacles and enjoying the end result. Running through transitions means changing pace when needed - slowing down to catch breath and take in views.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

14-weeks and growing!

Well, I'm either officially showing or my Indian food for lunch was a really bad idea. Or both.

I've made it to 14-weeks - woo hoo! - with no morning sickness, just a lot of really exhausted feeling days and worries/what ifs. Tomorrow we go for another ultra and we're hopefully going to find out the sexes (I can't WAIT!) It's been a busy 14th week. We signed a lease on a new apartment, showed our apartment and have someone who wants to move in immediately, sold one rug and are selling a lot more furniture.

Oh! And, I am now an "official" Ambassador for my favorite store - I have a photo shoot on February 8th (I really really hope I'm not showing too too much).

What a week.

So what's going on in there?

The twins are now 3.5-4 inches long and weigh almost an ounce.

Here's what Baby Centre UK has to say:

(p.s. when looking at the picture, multiply by 2)

"The body is now growing faster than the head. This week, its parchment-thin skin covers itself with lanugo (ultra-fine, downy hair that usually disappears before birth). Though eyebrows are beginning to grow and the hair on top of the head is sprouting, this hair may change in both texture and colour after birth.

About now, the fetus can grasp, squint, frown, and grimace. It may even be able to suck its thumb. Researchers believe these and other movements probably correspond to the development of impulses in the brain.

If you haven't yet made an appointment for maternal serum screening (also known as the triple test), you may want to do so now. The test provides more information about your baby, and screens for Down's syndrome and other birth defects. Also, your obstetrician may recommend an amniocentesis between 15 and 18 weeks for women over 35 and those with a history of birth defects. If you are over 35, have a look at our article on how age affects pregnancy.

• Note: Experts say every baby develops differently -- even in utero. These fetal development pages are designed to give a general idea of how a fetus grows in the womb."

Monday, January 26, 2009

Tasy Tuesday: meatballs and squash

Top Chef has totally inspired Matt and I to cook up a storm - sometimes we make great things, sometimes we wind up going out. On Tuesdays I'll be sharing some of the recipes that worked.

Meatballs, salad, and squash

1 lb grass fed beef from Pt. Reyes
1/2c yellow onion
1/4c chopped basil
Pinch salt
Pinch pepper

Mix everything and roll into 4 balls
Cook on medium heat on burner for 5min on each side until brown

1 spaghetti or other squash
1c spaghetti sauce

Cut squash in half and bake on 350 for 60-minutes
Heat sauce on stove until bubbling but not boiling
Top squash with sauce

2c arugula
2 tbsp goat cheese
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

Wash arugula. Add goat cheese and toss with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Why it's good for you?
This isn't the zone diet precisely, but it does combine protein, a small amount of fat, and carbs for a perfect mix. Squash has a lot of beta carotene which is great for the eyes and beef is packed with iron.

Why it's good for baby?
Right now, baby's bones are growing and so are their organs. Well balanced meals are imperative to help proper growth. I'm hoping that eating squash will help baby's eyes so they don't have to wear glasses like mom.

Why it's good for runner?
As a runner we're burning calories all the time and need a good balance including fat, protein, and carbs. The iron from beef (which can also be gotten from many veg options) provides energy (to go further) and substance (to keep muscle but burn fat).

Money Saver Monday: I wouldn't go this far

I think that people can be a little nutty for free stuff sometimes. Last week, because of a lawsuit against the big makeup companies, Macy's Nordstrom's, Saks, Neiman's, and more had to give free full size products including Chanel, Vera Wang, etc. to anyone who came to the counter and asked. This caused mayhem in San Francisco - Union Square was packed with people waiting fore free stuff. I heard one woman in line note that she didn't even know what she was in line for! I guess some people see a line and think it must be good.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Money Saver Monday: make your own face wash

Over the years I have spent more money than I wish to admit on soaps, gels, creams, scrubs, serums, and anything else that promises to make my skin bright, clear, and young. Recently a shocking Sephora bill coupled with a cabinet clean-out convinced me to change my spending - I don't really need 5 different washes, 3 lotions, 3 serums, and water (yes, I paid for some Japanese water that promises to make my skin radiant), so I decided to try to make my own.

I did a quick search on all my favorite organic and fancy-pants (Barney's) washes and came up with my own recipe:
  • 1 large container of Cetaphil
  • Aloe gel
  • Lavender oil
  • Ylang ylang oil
  • Tea tree oil
  • 1 beautiful expensive looking container
The result? I've been using my homemade skincare for 30-days exactly now and my skin is looking better than ever. I can't decide if it's the lack of product build-up, my genius concoction, or the "pregnant glow" but the clear/bright skin + dollar savings is working for me.

Monday Money Saver: diaper games

We're still heavily in research mode and are looking at every cost cutting strategy possible. We also want to make sure we're helping our "Big Mama" Earth and our babies and have looked into cloth diapers. Here's my quick comparison:

  • Average diaper use/month 320 - double that for twins!
  • $24.00/24-pack
  • Total/month - $640
  • Average diaper use/month 320 - double that for twins and add a few disposable for public
  • $272/320 with Tiny Tots
  • $156/320 with ABC Tidee Didee
If the price savings doesn't help convince, here's an interesting article from Scientific American:

A growing number of green-minded parents are starting to recognize the health and ecological benefits of reusable cloth diapers over disposables. Most brands of disposables are made from petroleum-derived plastic and wood fiber—some 250,000 trees fall each year to feed America's disposable diaper addiction.

According to The Green Guide, 95 percent of U.S. families now use disposable diapers—to the tune of as many as 8,000 per child. As a result, 3.5 million tons of them clog landfills each year. Accompanying these diapers, of course, is untreated fecal matter and urine that can easily contaminate the groundwater surrounding landfills. Pathogens in this waste can be spread far and wide by insects and animals.

Furthermore, the process of bleaching disposable diapers to make sure they are as white as possible before they get to consumers leads to the generation of the chemical dioxin, which besides being potentially harmful to factory workers and the environment surrounding manufacturing facilities, can show up in trace amounts in the diapers themselves, potentially exposing babies' skin to a dangerous carcinogen. ..."

Toss, recycle, or keep?

We turned in an application for a great 2-bedroom place this morning (I hope we get it I hope we get it oh goodness I hope we get it!!!) and I'm trying so hard not to get my hopes up too high. But now we're in limbo - if we get the place, they'll want us to move in now which begs two questions:
  1. How do we get out of our (perfect) 1-bedroom fast so we don't have to pay two rents (did I say perfect? I mean really, we can see the Golden Gate bridge from our kitchen, Alcatraz from the living room, have original crown molding (not mold), and gorgeous hard wood floors)
  2. How do we pack and move when we have accumulated a LOT of stuff over the years?
Now I'm in the toss, recycle, or keep phase going through everything and wondering how much I really feel like boxing it up to move. That game we opened but never played? Recycle. That book I bought and read the back of for book club? Keep - I really should have read it. The teddy bear my first boyfriend gave me? Toss - I should have tossed that before "I do" but it got boxed and moved.

I need an assistant...

Bumps ahead

The other day I was enjoying a nice run over the Golden Gate bridge when I came to a sign that literally made me laugh out loud - "Bumps ahead." I'm just starting to show and when I saw this I thought "no kidding!" The tourists around me must've thought I was one of the nutty San Franciscans.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

What's going on in there - 13-weeks pregnant (going on 14)

I wake up almost nightly with questions/fears/and excitement. I'm nearing the end of my 13th week of pregnancy. Two days ago I went in for my checkup and heard the hearts beating which was really reassuring (they sound like little drummers - Matt is pleased).

So here's what's going on in there from one of the experts (it's kind of gross and I'm happy to be quoting and not chronicling for you) - What to Expect When your Expecting:
As the first trimester comes to a close, your baby's about the size of peach, though you may not be feeling too peachy about your sex life right now.
When it comes to sex during pregnancy, anything goes. You may feel hotter than ever while your husband is feeling anything but. Or, he may be entranced by your ripening breasts and belly, but his eager eyes (and hands) are just about the last things you want to feel on your body right now. This is all normal and it's likely to change (and maybe change again) as you get closer to delivery. Whether you're getting any action down there — and even if you're not — there's still certainly lots going on in your nether regions. You may start to notice leukorrhea, a thin, mild-smelling milky vaginal discharge that protects the birth canal from infection and keeps the bacteria in your vagina in a healthy balance. (Okay, now do you feel sexy?) This harmless discharge is likely to increase in the coming weeks, so keep plenty of panty liners in stock. What's up with your baby? Well, that big old noggin is now about half the size of her crown-to-rump length. By the time you give birth, her body will catch up, measuring three-quarters of her total size. In other news, the intestines are beginning to move from the umbilical cord to the abdomen, and the vocal chords are well under construction (the first step toward one day saying, "I love you, Mommy!")

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Money games

Being pregnant is very exciting - it's also very scary; specific fears today:
  • Will they be healthy?
  • Will they be good people?
  • Will I be a good mom?
  • How can I be a great mom with twins?
  • Millions more
New fears are arising, though, that are just as daunting:
  • Where will we live?
We pay $1,650 for a 1-bedroom, 780 square foot apartment with the best views in San Francisco - a quick look on reveals nothing really for under $2,000. I've visited 4-apartments, called more others than I can count, and stalked for hours on end. Tonight I had my first run-in with a landlord who does not want kids ... I think. She asked who would be living in the apartment, I said my husband and I, paused, and said we need more room. She said the place was too small. Hm.
  • How will we manage daycare?
Infant care is more expensive than toddler or any other age. Infant care also fills up months in advance. Today I called every Bright Horizons center (which I believe is one of the best in San Francisco) a handful are full and we can't afford any (they average at $1,900/month/child and go up 5% every year (I wish I got 5% raises every year)). I also called mom 'n pop shops from Craigslist and have been researching nannies and share care. Oh boy. The thing is, we need to figure this all out - eeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!
  • How can we afford food/clothes/cribs/toys?
We've cut down almost all spending - we used to be the San Francisco couple who ate out all the time, went away for weekends for fun, and a shoe sale never forgot my name. Now, we eat in almost every night, bring lunch, and a "weekend out" is a weekend looking at apartments. When I start looking at Amazon and other sites for cribs, changing tables, pumps, and more the $s fly through my head. Oofa, dizzy already.

On the bright side, I know things will work out. The healthy happy part is the most important.

13 weeks and going strong!

I'm now "officially" 13-weeks along - two months ago 13-weeks seemed forever away; now, 30-weeks feels forever away.

According to Child Birth Solutions, this week I can expect:
  • Cravings (I have been eating a lot of pickles and chocolate ... but I ate those before - now I just have a reason)
  • Starting to show (I am ... someone uploaded pictures from the race I ran this weekend (someone who didn't know I am pregnant and hopefully just thinks he got a "bad angle" - my best girlfriend called so excited because she can start to see something going on)
  • The twins' vocal cords are developing (maybe that's what all the growling is)
  • The twins' intestines are moving into their abdomen
  • The twins are starting to grow fuzzy hair (and they're only 2-inches long!!!)
Here are some birthday facts from Babies Online:
  • The twins' birthstone will be Ruby (Contentment)
  • The twins' Astrological Sign will be Leo (Matt's sign)
  • The twins' Flower is Larkspur or Water_Lily (Green, Russet and Red )
  • The twins will be born in the Chinese Year of The Ox
  • This time next year The twins will be 25 Weeks Old!
  • The twins will start kindergarten in 2014, be old enough to drive a car in 2025, finish high school in 2027, and will graduate from college with the class of 2031, give or take a year. Can you imagine? Wow, I feel old already!!!

Sale day!

It's still too early for me to start buying little onsies and socks, but it's never too early to look. Today Petunia Pickle Bottom is having an outlook sale - and I do love a sale!

I especially love this boxy backpack and this sling:

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Monday Money Saver: Check it

I'm a big fan of books/DVDs/magazines - you get the drill. Being in a book club contributes to this fan of books but it also contributes to my spend. Over the past 6-months I've bought 6-books varying from $5-$22 - that adds up!

Intro: the Library card. It's a little ridiculous actually, my very first job was at a library and after living in San Francisco for 5+ years I'm only now getting a card? Better late than never I guess.

Last week I checked out:
  • A pregnancy book on twins (I've already bought 5) - savings of $11.95
  • A DVD - savings of $4.99
  • My book club book for this month, Persuasion - savings of $5 (used on Amazon)
Total savings: $21.94
This money saving thing is turning out to be easier than I thought ...

Race Day - PCTR 21k

Today was race day and I ran the PCTR Pacifica 21k. It was perfect weather for a race and there were a ton of GGRC runners doing the 21k. I forced myself to "run easy" which was quite nice, actually. I wound up running a 2:13 21k and I placed 33rd overall (out of 150) and 1st in my age group (25-29 (I'm 29)). So much for easy ... :)

It felt great, though. If I ever felt short of breath I walked and when I started getting too hot I'd peal off layers and drink water.

Being up in the trails over the water was fantastic, too. I love running alone on those trails - there's plenty of time to think (and believe me there's a lot on my mind). On the docket for this race? "I'm so glad the tests went well, I'm so glad the tests went well, I'm so glad the tests went well." These pleased feelings morphed into: "where the heck are we going to live," and "what will they be like?" It's crazy thinking about these little people literally growing inside me and coming along for everything I do - will they like running, too? Will they be "good" people? Really right now I'm just hoping for happy and healthy - hopefully Matt and I will contribute to the rest.

After this trail race I think I'm going to hang up my muddy shoes for a while. I'm still going to do some road races and I'll definitely be taring up the streets of San Francisco for fun runs. The down hills really started scaring me, though, so I'm going to chill for a bit.

Running while pregnant - a good study

I'm off to run the Pacifica 21k today and I needed an extra bit of validation that yes, running is OK when pregnant and no, I'm not doing anything to harm my babies.

Here's a good article on Running and Pregnancy from
The article opens with a study done in 1990 on a group of 29.1 year old pregnant women (my age exactly). The women averaged 24.8 miles per week the 3-months leading up to pregnancy and 80.3% of them went on to have natural births (versus C-sections) with 7+lb babies.

Best practices:
  1. Stretch (something I'm not so used to doing but need to do)
  2. Listen to your body - if you feel Braxton Hicks contractions (rhythmic tightening of the lower abdomen) stop and walk
  3. Schedule runs times when least tired (never for me) and run to get over the nausea (never for me)
  4. Let yourself stop and walk
There are a lot of conflicting pieces on races. I like this quote from Run the Planet:
"A race or two can be exciting and stimulating but only if it is approached with the idea that it will be no more than a slightly-faster-than-usual run with a lot of friends. Moderation is the name of the game. A pregnant runner should not participate if it is a very hot day, or if she tends to be compulsive and knows that she may not be able to hold herself to a reasonable pace. Developing a relaxed attitude can be quite a learning experience."

Off I go to stretch, drink water, run/walk/job, and enjoy a fun run (I'm not even calling it a race).

Friday, January 16, 2009

Week 12.5

Well I've crossed the 3-month mark but I'm still not "out of the woods." On Thursday Matt and I went to CPMC for my integrated screening (the first of a two part test that looks for neural difficulties and Down Syndrome). The test was fine - easy actually - the waiting is killing me!

Money saver: the "educational" facial

I love facials - actually, I love anything around pampering myself. With twins on their way and a New Year's resolution to be better with money, I can't splurge on $80+ treats once a month. Intro the "educational" facial.

One evening after a particularly gruelling work day I walked a new route home through the financial district and happened upon the "Cinta Aveda Institute" a beauty school here in San Francisco. They offer facials and hair by students but with a teacher overseeing them. When I first walked in I was offered a $20 coupon (I think everyone, even the lower cost options, are really hurting with this economy) for a discount off a treatment so of course I signed up for a facial on Saturday. The facial was AWESOME! The entire facial was with Aveda products and the estitician made sure not to use salicylic acid or the like because I told her I was pregnant. The treatment was topped off with a head/neck/shoulder/foot/hand massage - can't be beat. All this for $20 (normal price is $40)!

Who said splurging has to be bank breaking?

When I can finally get my hair done again I'm going back for a $14 cut and $40 color.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Running with baggage

This morning I woke at 5:45 to meet Linzy and Brett for another early morning run and found an SMS on my phone saying they were canceling (text sent at 11:30pm - way past bedtime). Bummer. I was up so I decided to run anyhow. I loaded up with pepper spray, my light, iPod, and keys - seriously, I was running with quite a load. I'm glad I had the light - San Francisco is dark in the morning!

After lacing up and making it a block down I started getting the heebies with all the movement on the sidewalk (bodies shifting in their sleep). I made it to the water and then rounded Ft. Mason - cresting the hill I smelled a familiar stink ... SKUNK!!! Oy. Thankfully the wafting smell missed me and I ran on and finally made it back home before the sun even approached the horizon.

This afternoon was the more exciting part of the day - my second ultrasound and the first part of the integrated screening. Matt and I made our way to CPMC where we met with a genetic counsellor for a painstaking 50-minutes (it's scary learning all of the problems possible with babies and even more scary knowing there's never 100% assurance that they'll be alright and even more scary that with twins everything is twice as likely!) The counselling went well and in we went for the ultra - it was SO amazing! We saw the twins sleep, wake up, and start moving. They're now 2-inches long and beautiful. We also got to see them in 3D which was ... weird. To be honest I actually don't much like the 3D, I'm a black and white fan. 3D looks a bit like egg yolks in a sauce mixer to me - just weird.

Can't wait for the results and my next ultra!!!

After the test I felt like all my baggage (worries/fears and physical running baggage) vanished. Knowing "things are looking good" is amazingly relieving.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

To do: eat well - best and worst foods

Women's Health and Fitness (my favorite mag) listed the best and worst breakfast foods today from Eat this Not That.

Topping the chart? Eat Kashi Vive Toasted Graham & Vanilla not Kellogg's Smart Start Original Antioxidants. I'm actually a Puffins kind of girl, but I used to be a huge fan of Kellogg's Smart Start.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The pregnant run

Living in San Francisco I think there are a handful of kinds of runs:
  • The bus run: when bus riders are one block+ off from the bus as it pulls into the stop, they always seem to do a faux run/shuffle; in all honesty this faux run is probably slower than a walk
  • The red light run: when (side) walkers are making their way to a cross walk and see the yellow blinking, there are two types: those who stop and those who red light run - stepping into the street 1-4 seconds before the light turns red but absolutely holding up traffic
  • The run run: my favorite kind - running full out, sweat flying, breathing rasped, up the hills of San Francisco
  • The pregnant run: this is my current run; this run fits into any of the above buckets but comes with an extra arm motion - elbows up at breast not so discretely holding the upper twins in place because no matter how sturdy my new D bra is they hurt like heck

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Weekend Run

The weather in San Francisco couldn't be better - there isn't a cloud in the sky, it's warm but not hot, and the city seems to have a clean glow. Everyone is noticing this optimal weather - the sidewalks are packed and streets open.

This morning I met up with GGRC at the Warming Hut and set off for an aggresive(ish) but paced run. I did the Warming Hut > over the Golden Gate Bridge > up through the Marin Headlands to the "Saddle" > back down. The run felt great! I tried to pace throughout to keep my breathing steady and not over exert. We wound up doing an 8:24 pace (9:30s up the hills) and did a total of 7.23 miles - not bad!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Calendar and To Do: 11.5 weeks and going strong

I'm at 11.5 weeks which means I'm just about to start getting tests and am a few weeks away from the "fear zone" in pregnancy. I'm also starting to gain weight - at first I lost 7 lbs and now I'm back up to 125 and they're just going to start adding on from there, I'm sure.

This pic is right after a 3mi run - not too far, but felt great!

Here's what's going on in there:

According to Baby Centre UK, the twins are now 1 1/2 inches long, about the size of a fig, and almost full formed. Little tooth buds are starting (I hope they don't bite) and their bones are hardening. Mind you, this pic, description is for pregnancy with 1. You can read more about the internal haps online.

Fat vs. bump

I got caught! After all my brooding and planning to hide my little secret(s), I got caught. Our guests arrived last night and I had hidden all the books, put all the magazines under my bed, and bought a case of non-alcoholic beer as well as a case of regular beer that was the same color. When our guests arrived I was still finishing up dinner so the Mrs. came into the kitchen to talk ... and there it was, my Dr.'s note stating it was twins and listing my tests. OY!

The night progressed with baby stories which was actually a lot of fun. Despite not wanting people to know, I do like talking about babies / what to do / etc.

At one point the Mr. was talking about how incredibly fat I was going to get and it actually hurt my feelings. Here's my take - when you're pregnant, it's a bump. There are of course some people who get "fat" outside of the pregnant bump, but not everyone - I very well might, but I certainly don't want it pushed in my face. Now this is by no mean a tisk to the Mr. - I think when people get pregnant vocabulary changes. That, and emotions are flying a million miles a minute.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Inspired: Running is Good for You - and the Little Ones Too

Every day I continue to be inspired by athletes (specifically runners). My track coach from high school is still running - he's well into his 70s but looks and acts like a 50- year old - truly an incredible man. The President of my running club just had her first baby and she ran almost the entire way through her "high risk" pregnancy - mom and baby are quite healthy.

I love being inspired - do you have stories of runners / mom's / teachers who are inspirational through their activity?

Check out this article on Fit Pregnancy about runners expecting twins:
"Cheryl Kruse Shwe, 34, a running coach, ran between 15 and 35 miles a week in San Francisco until the day she delivered her baby. Juliet Hochman, 34, a former Olympic rower from Portland, Ore., traded running for power walks partway through both of her pregnancies. And they’re not alone."

Read the full article ...

I fall into the "Advanced" category - My running hang up isn't being winded or weight (because I haven't gained any yet), it's being too tired to get up let alone run.

Kerri Walsh: An Inspiration to Expecting Athletes Everywhere

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Yoga is to Running AND Pregnancy as Payday is to Rent - Essential

Runners know we have to stretch. I've experienced first hand the pains of not stretching enough - ala, waking up in the middle of the night with cramped calves or arms so sore they don't work for typing. As this is my first pregnancy I haven't experienced the pains ... er, joys ... of labor first hand - yet. But I'll get to experience it twice in a few months! I have heard, though, that yoga helps with the pregnancy, birth, and healthy babies (a result of a healthy pregnancy) into the world.

So my take?
Yoga + Running = Good
Yoga + Pregnancy = Good


Runner's World has a great article on how Running and Yoga go Hand-in-Hand detailing how yoga can help with the breathing aspects during a run and alleviating pain post-run.

Health and Yoga offers 5 "tools" detailing how yoga is beneficial for expecting mom's:
  1. Yoga Exercises
  2. Breathing
  3. Mudras
  4. Meditation
  5. Deep Relaxation
Recently I've been finding I need to incorporate yoga into my daily routine to:
  1. Stop stressing so much about the what ifs of the first trimester of pregnancy (which I'm almost finished with - woo hoo!)
  2. Get all the snap crackle pops out of my joints so I can make it out for an enjoyable run (rather than short or painful)

Monday, January 5, 2009

To do: liar liar pants on fire - oh the stories pregnant women tell

I'm still in the super-top-secret pregnant mode - aka, 10.5 weeks in and waiting to tell people until after the 14-week mark. During the holidays it's rather difficult to pull my secret off.

At our New Year's Eve party I offered to make the margaritas - I offered so I could quickly make a virgin one then pack the blender with tequila and pour for the rest of the crowd. An amazing fete if I do say so myself.

Here are some of the other (white) lies:
  • Co-workers want to go to happy hour - Oh, I can't - I promised the hub I'd make dinner tonight.
  • Co-workers talking about newly pregnant sister (she just found out - not sure she wants the whole office to know) and talking about how she's too young and too poor (she's 29 (my age) and makes a similar salary (not bad)) - I think it's great as long as she and her husband are happy!
  • Boss says he can't work because his wife is 2-months pregnant and is having a tough time - Poor thing! I'll cover for you. (I mean this one - I think pregnancy is different for everyone)
  • Throwing a dinner party and game night - no lie here, I'm buying non-alcoholic Beck's and cheersing away
  • Girlfriends want to take a weekend trip to Vail - Can't, I'm saving for something big (two somethings actually!)
  • Book club night (aka, get together with the girlfriends, split copious bottles of wine, and dish) - I'm doing a 1-month detox for my New Year's resolution

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Where to live with twins?

I'm a city girl. I always have been. I was lucky enough to grow up in the beautiful suburbs of Marin but every chance I got I was on a plane to some city (the more exotic, the better). These travels (for fun, school, and work) took me to Madrid, Barcelona, Lisbon, London, Egypt, Mumbai, Bangalore, Seoul, Singapore, and more. Just writing of travels make me daydream of romantic cityscape around the globe.

My travel days are going to be put on hold for a while but my love of cities will remain. Currently we live in San Francisco - and love it! But with low ranking school systems, expensive houses and rent, and shocking ... uh, sites I'm wondering if this is the city for raising twins.

A quick Google search brought up the following cities:
  1. Minneapolis, MN
  2. Provo, UT
  1. Groesbeck, Ohio
  2. Western Springs, Ill
  3. Deerfield, Ill
  4. Echelon, NJ
  5. Arapahoe, Neb
  6. Waverly, Neb
  7. Wilmette, Ill
  8. Lackland, Tex
  9. Waterville, OH
  10. Hopewell, TN
Fit Pregnancy:
  1. Boston, MA
  2. San Francisco, CA (YAYAYA!)
  3. Minneapolis, MN
  4. Portland, OR
  5. Omaha, NB
  6. Denver, CO
  7. Colorado Springs, CO
  8. Seattle, WA
  9. Oakland, CA
  10. San Diego, CA
Each survey, and subsequent list, has different criteria ranging from open-ness with breast feeding (something Fit Pregnancy looks at), to schools, to working and raising kids (something Kiplinger looks at).

I think what it comes down to is:
  1. Where do you feel safe - where will baby be safe
  2. Where are your family and friends
  3. Where is work OR where do you want to work
  4. What are the schools like (I'm a huge advocate of public - San Francisco is not winning any awards here)
  5. Where are you happy

Winded when running

(photo from my last trail race a few weeks ago - pre-winded-ness)

Lately on my runs, short or long, I've been getting winded within minutes. It may be because I've cut my mileage over the holidays and with the first pregnancy spotting scare ... or it may be (drumroll) because I'm pregnant with twins! Talk about a body changer. I'm just over 10-weeks so there isn't much belly to get in the way of running, but everything going on in there is effecting running; namely, my blood and nutrients are busy on other projects now than just fueling my runs.

I don't want to stop, though. I stopped for a few days and thought I'd explode - running is my biggest stress release and passion. The solution? Run-walk-run. To continue without getting winded, I've slowed my pace by nearly 30-seconds per mile and am sticking to the flats (for the most part - I do love the hills). I'm not doing sprints but I am making myself pace even more which leaves little room for burning out.

Here are a few articles that provide more information:
Running During Pregnancy - Babyzone
Are Trail Running and Being Pregnant Compatible?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

To do: home layout

I may have 6+ months to go, but I'm already looking around our 1-bedroom San Francisco apartment wondering how we're going to fit two smiling bubbling babies in our home. We are actually looking to buy right now (first time buyers can surprisingly get good rates now) but we're not sure what's going to happen. So, here's my dream home layout of the day:

The kitchen - we're not too concerned with fitting baby things in the kitchen yet (outside of highchairs) but we do want to capitalize on space. Z-Gallery has an awesome expandable tall bar table that could double as a dining table.

The living room - we currently have a handful of chests thanks to my Godmother in the Philippines, a huge tube TV, nice couch, two leather chairs, and some modern/Asian drawers. If we stay in our 1-bedroom, the living room will have to double as a bedroom (when I first laid this out I was picturing one baby, not two). Right now I'm really liking the Bloom Snug from Giggle for a living room baby seat, and baby furniture from Dwell - but within our budget we'll most likely be buying cribs and dressers from Ikea.

The bedroom - right now we're working on getting rid of junk; that's step 1. We need to put stuff into, too, so I'm trying to convince the hub that we need the Borghese Lingerie Chest as Z-Gallery. For the little ones, we're looking at adding a bassinet (at first I loved the Ninna Nanna bassinet from Giggle but now I'm looking at the Graco Pack 'n Play for twins because of it's size and the different ways you can use it).

The bad news is there are tons of options out there and reviews on both sides of the fence for almost every one. The good news is I have time for more research ... and more layouts (my husband is an architect so he's already working our home up in autocad to see how everything will fit (more fun than function)).

Thursday, January 1, 2009

To do: get off to a running start; sites, smells, sounds

Feeling motivated by some research I read about running and fitness helping with healthier pregnancies, and to kick off 2009, I went for a slow(ish) 5.49 run this afternoon. The city was perfect for a run - crisp, not too bright, and fairly quiet. Well, fairly quiet until I got down to the water - and then it seemed everyone was trying to build fitness and family time (both very important) into their 2009 start.

San Francisco provides awesome running routes - my favorite takes me along the water around Chrissy Field, under the bridge, and through the Presidio. Today I wove up through Presidio Heights taking stairs and hills all the way (gotta keep the booty up).

I've always been sensitive to smells when running but ever since I became pregnant I've been especially so. During my run I enjoyed the water smell, wet grass, and trees - then got into some funky smells - cigarette smoke (this is like torcher to me), champagne puke on the streets (at least the city has sophisticated drunks?), and rotten food in open garbage bins. Yuck!

For some reason the city didn't sound like a city today (and it wasn't my Coldplay/Madonna mix blasting in my ears). It was void of cars and filled with family sounds - laughing, talking, playing.

All in all, a great way to start 2009.

To do: when you can't run, stretch

Lately I've been going back and forth being able to run and not able to run (I judge it by "is there spotting?") When I can't run, I do yoga - the stretching is not only relaxing and a good core workout, but a great base for when I get back to running. I typically start with 3-5 sun salutations, and then go into a few series of poses based on what I want to work.

Here are a few favorite poses:
  • Warriors 1, 2, and 3 - with feet 3.5-4 feet apart, the front knee bent and the back foot at a 90 degree angel you stretch arms overhead, then one out front the other behind, and then to really work it, get the back flat like a plank, bend over, lift the back leg, and put arms behind
  • Big toe pose - this one is great for runners - you bend over keeping legs straight and hold your big toes (or in my case, elbows because I can't reach my big toes); you can feel the stretch up the back of both legs right where you need it
  • Child's pose - the best at-rest post ever - on hands and knees with toes pointing outward, bend over and put hands all the way in front of you and then circle them back to rest at your hips
Yoga Journal has a ton of other good poses to try.