Upcoming Events

September 13 – The Flattest Century in the East 100 mile bike ride

October 4 (tentative) – Smuttynose Half Marathon 

October 11 – Ronald McDonald House of Providence 5k, best 5K around! Register to support RMHP. 

October 11 (evening) – Grog and Dog Jog, a relay where each person needs to drink a beer and eat a hot dog before the next person can start. 

October 31 – Performance Physical Therapy 5K, also raises funds for RMHP

November 7 – Stonecat Trail Marathon (still not sure what I was thinking….)

Maybe the Hot Chocolate Run in December even if it’s a far drive to justify these days. 

What I’ve been up to…

It’s a been a while (I think I say that every time?). Babies sure are time consuming.

I’ve been working out here and there. Trying my hardest to get into a consistent routine but it’s just not sticking. I’m really hoping that things will get better in the fall. It’s my favorite running season and the baby will be a year old so I won’t constantly be worried about exercise affecting my already low milk supply.

Let’s rewind a bit.

When we last spoke about running, I had done a trail 10K(ish).

Since then I’ve done a couple trail runs, more than a couple road runs, a relay race and logged a bunch of bike miles. Let’s get the quick and dirty on each…

Trail Running
Two trail runs, mostly the same route each time. The first, at the beginning of May was the last bit of the North-South trail in RI as part of a scouting mission for my friend Anj’s attempt at a full run of the 80-something miles. The next time we ran it was the first weekend in June. I was joining her after she’d already been on the trail for 70+ miles. It was pretty epic to reach the beach in Southern RI as part of such an amazing adventure. You can read Anj’s recap of the whole she-bang here.

Relay Race
May 8-9, I ran my first Ragnar Relay with a great group of women that I worked my way into through social media. It was a blast even though I was under trained. I was runner 5 with legs of 5.3, 5.2 and 3.5 miles. I love relays. Reach the Beach in New Hampshire is my favorite, but this Ragnar was superb as well.

Road Running
I’ve logged a whopping 80ish miles since May. I used to do that in a month, easy. Oh well. It’s a starting point. My plan is to work on endurance and then speed.

Longest run in a while.

Longest run in a while.

Four miles with my buddy.

Four miles with my buddy.

Cycling
This has been my focus this year. I’ve been feeling the bike is much more approachable after baby. I can cover lots of distance in much less time. There is something rewarding about that.

At the start of the MS150

At the start of the MS150

My husband and I participated in the MS150 ride that started in Boston at the end of June. It deserves a blog entry of it’s own, and maybe I’ll get to that, though two months later it’s probably not that interesting. The ride usually is two days, 75ish miles each day. Well, this year the second day was canceled. I was pretty bummed but when we woke up Sunday morning to crazy wind and rain we knew it was the right choice, especially since the morning miles would include going over the Bourne Bridge. Not that safe with high-force winds. So, I logged my longest bike ride ever of 78 miles and my husband went on to ride 100 (which was another option for Saturday riders). I had considered doing the 100 as well, but the course was closing and I didn’t think I’d be able to finish in time.

I also had the benefit of being registered for a Century Ride in September (the Flattest Century in the East) so I knew I’d hit that achievement soon, even if not during the MS ride. Training for that ride has taken up the bulk of my time lately. I’ve logged over 500 bike miles this year! Considering my previous years hovered around 100 that’s quite a change.

I really love riding. I feel like I can accomplish more. I miss running, but it’s been a good experience changing gears for a bit. Pun intended.

The rest of 2015
In addition to the Century Ride in September, I’ve got a few races in the books. I’m running two 5k’s in October. Hoping I can regain a bit of speed before then. I’m considering the Hartford Half Marathon (or maybe Smuttynose). Hartford works better with my training plan, but Smuttynose is beer. I also have a complimentary entry to the Grey Goose Marathon in Seekonk in November (I’m thinking I might do the half) because….drumroll, I’m running the Stonecat Trail Marathon on November 7! Let’s do this.

Let’s build each other up…

Instead of bringing each other down. Please. Women need this. Humanity needs this.

I recently posted an image to Facebook celebrating something that was important to me.

9months

9 months of breastfeeding

I’ll admit, I was a little bit hesitant to post it. I know I had several friends that struggled with being able to breastfeed their children and really felt strongly about it. I didn’t want to offend them but ultimately I decided to be proud of my accomplishment shared it with my little corner of the internet.

I received a lot of support. Women (and men) sharing in my accomplishment. And some criticism, saying I shouldn’t share this because it could offend women that, for whatever reason, weren’t able to breastfeed.

While I can understand that point of view to a certain extent, when did we become a group of people that can’t celebrate others accomplishments even if it was something we personally weren’t able to do.

Breastfeeding is a topic surrounded by STRONG feelings. It can get heated. I read the comments on articles about the subject (even though I know better) and it can get UGLY.

But really, this isn’t about breastfeeding.

This is about supporting people.

We live in an age where everyone gets a trophy for participating. Which is fine. I think that participation should be acknowledged just like anything else. But where to people get to shine? Where to they get to celebrate themselves and what they have done in their lives?

Should I never share an academic achievement out of fear of offending someone with a learning disability? What about athletic achievements? I could make someone with a physical disability feel left out.

What happened to it being okay to be different?

Why can’t we be proud of significant events in our lives?

Okay…back to breastfeeding for a minute…

Yes, it’s hard. Someone women can’t do it no matter how hard they try. Or maybe they don’t want to try. Whatever. It’s all perfectly acceptable. Some people could say to me, “if it was so hard, why didn’t you give up?” and I really don’t have an answer. I guess it would be because I was stubborn. But that doesn’t make me think less of anyone who wasn’t as stubborn as I was. I’m not offended when I see other women fill their freezers with milk despite all my attempts I can’t even make enough for my son day-to-day. I’ll admit I can feel a little jealous, but at the end of the day I can appreciate the hard work it took for them to get there.

People feel as though breastfeeding is a biological imperative. That women’s bodies were made to do it so it hurts and stings a little more when it doesn’t go as well as expected. But that is true of a lot of things. Diabetics don’t process insulin the way they are “supposed” to. My thyroid doesn’t work as it is “supposed” to. Biologically, things let us down. It happens and it’s part of being human.

I will never be an elite runner. I probably will never even be fast enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Does it make me unable to cheer for those that can do what they do? Absolutely not.

Everyone has advantages and disadvantages in life. We are not all the same and that is what makes life interesting. Please support each other. The world needs more of that.

National Running Day

Happy National Running Day!

I hope you all got out and logged some miles yesterday. It’s a nice day to see how great the running community is.

I tried to run, but the little one was not having it. We made it about half a mile before he was a cranky mess in the jogging stroller. Oh well. At least I tried.

We really need to log more miles in the stroller to get him used to it, I think.

Sleepy

My sleepy buddy.

I think he’ll grow to like it given the chance. Sometimes he just chills and falls asleep, other times he whines and cries and I end up carrying all of his 24lbs half a mile home (which I guess is another type of workout! :p)

Big River 10K

I ran a race!

This was actually my 4th race postpartum, but like many things, this blog needs to be dusted off and updated.

I joined a Ragnar Relay team. The race is May 8-9 so I figured I need to get some miles in in preparation so I don’t die and I can complete three runs over the course of 24 hours. This past week (well, starting Thursday) was my real, true, redefined effort at getting in some more consistent miles.

On Thursday I went out for a three mile run…except my Garmin wouldn’t find satellites. Eventually it locked in approximately 1.3 miles into my run. I still felt the need to see that “3” on the watch so I ran about 4.5 miles total. Depressingly that’s about my second longest run since having the baby (I have run 5 miles a handful of times).

There is a local trail series called the 4th Season Race Series. Each year I’ve intended to run some of the races, but the weather never cooperated. I really don’t find anything less fun than trying to trudge through trails that are full on buried in snow and ice. I learned that from the Spring Thaw last year. But, the weather powers that be really came through for the last race of the series.

The Big River Half Marathon (and 10K) happened on Saturday, April 4 and it was a perfect 50 something degree day and 90% of the snow melted with the rain in the days before. There was a wind advisory during the race, but because of the trails and trees I didn’t notice much wind at all. It was a great day to be out there.

The race started at 11am, about 10 minutes from my house. Of course I got there at 10:59..luckily they still let me register. I missed most of the course announcements, but I trusted that it would be well marked and I’d at least have people around.

WELL… That wasn’t the case. Apparently since the course was marked the night before, some jerks unsportsman like individuals messed with the markings before the race. For about two miles everything was good and the trail was twisting and turning through the woods. Then there was an intersection with no direction. Someone remembered that we had to go around the lake and keep it to our right, so that’s what we did but it was probably good 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile before we saw another marking. During that time the half marathon and 10K runners split and the group I was with was down to 2. I was glad to have someone to run with, but we were often confused together.

We saw other runners, some who were already at 1 mile or more in excess of the 10K distance. Another half marathoner only ran 8 miles. It seemed like it was a bit of a free for all in the woods. After running around the lake, we got back to that unmarked intersection and followed the trail back to the start. Not sure if that was the route the course was supposed to take, but at least we knew it would get us home.

My husband and the baby came out to meet me at the finish, he was getting a little worried that everyone was talking of getting lost and that I’d now been out for an hour and a half for a 10K. But, I made it back, with total distance of 5.6 miles (so *almost* a 10K, haha).

Despite the confusion, it was really fun and I definitely want to make it a point to do more trail races.

getting back to it

Since the baby and since being cleared to run 6 weeks later, I just cannot get into it. I’m not complaining, just stating a fact.

Everyone says I need to cut myself some slack. That I *just* had a baby and I don’t need to worry about fitness right now. It’s not that I’m worrying about it. I actually miss it. Running was something I found enjoyable and it was mentally good for me.

I had a very had time after the baby was born. With having a scheduled, but unwanted c-section, with all of the issues of breastfeeding, of not feeling instantaneously head over heels in love with the baby. I needed something. I needed my release back.

I was so happy when I was told it was okay to run at my 6 week postpartum appointment. I was not prepared for how hard it would be. Everything felt wrong and I was so slow. I had expected to be slower but I was not prepared for the immense struggle I’d feel with every step.

Since then I have only run a handful of times. I can’t fall into a routine that fits in regular running. Now I blame the weather and the streets around my house that completely not navigable.

The feelings of not bonding with the baby are gone. He is the most amazing (and frustrating) part of my life. This makes it harder to fit in exercise. Going back to work, and being away from him a majority of the time is really hard. I don’t want to miss a single moment, but I know that mentally this is not good for me. Mentally and physically I need a routine. I need some sort of fitness in my life.

My body after baby was amazing. I was almost at pre-pregnancy weight two weeks after. In reality I was probably not eating enough with all the anxiety and stress I was feeling, but at the time I thought it was fantastic. Since then I have gained 10 more lbs.

Everyone says don’t worry, you *just* had a baby. But I do worry.  I don’t feel good. I know it is not the fault of the baby that I ate basically all day long while on maternity leave. Yes, I do need extra calories for my body to keep producing milk, but that does not equal 10 extra lbs and boxes and boxes of clothes that do not fit.

So, I’m making a change.

I ordered 21 Day Fix from Beach Body. A workout and eating program. Something I think is a gimmick and ridiculous. But I needed someone else to tell me what to do. I’m on Day 2. I’m hoping it is the kick start that I need and I can get back to running and feeling good about myself.

I hate negative talk about bodies and I realize that is a post entirely about my dislike of my own body. I need to be honest and I really do miss the body I created before getting pregnant. Marathon training made me fit and I really loved everything about myself.

Yes, I am a mom now and I did *just* have a baby… but that doesn’t mean I need to give up being happy in my own skin. I absolutely love that this body grew and continues to nurture an amazing little boy, but I don’t need to keep an extra 20lbs to keep just because it is okay since I *just* had a baby.

Oh, breastfeeding.

This is a really hard post for me to sit down and write. So many emotions and struggles over the past few months and to try to sort them all out and put into words is like re-living every moment.

From the moment I knew I was pregnant I knew I was going to breastfeed. Breast milk is healthy and it’s free. My body makes it, so why not use it? The prenatal group I went to every month had several hours of discussion on the topic. First and foremost was that breastfeeding SHOULD NOT HURT. Well. Let me tell you. Not true. Sure, pain can be a indication that something is wrong and then you can fix it. Perfect, right?

Not so much.

I’m set to recover from c-section in the hospital for four days. During that four days every nurse had something different to tell me about breastfeeding. Position, latching, all of it. While I was sitting the transition waiting area was the first time I tried to breastfeed my son. He was placed on my naked chest and he started rooting for my breast. Good sign! He got on, latched and started going to town (as well as a nearly one hour old infant can). I thought, this is great, it’s not that bad at all.

Then the next few days happen. They told me to feed on demand, or every 2-3 hours at a minimum if he was a sleepy baby.

First day. I’ve got this.

Second day. Things are starting to feel a little tender. By the evening I was in tears and dreading every feeding. They tell me a lactation consultant will eventually see me and work with me to help ease the pain.

Third day. I’m still trucking through. Working through every excruciating latch. Nurses keep offering me suggestions. Several mention that he has a very obvious tongue tie. I am determined to make this happen.

Fourth day. Lactation consultant is finally able to visit me. She is extremely intense and gives me tips about latching all while trying to get the little guy on pain free. Another suggestion that he has a tongue tie. She walks us through latching and what we should be doing all while stressing me out with her intensity. She looks at my nipples and the tears in my eyes and suggests pumping. I get hooked up and produce meager amounts of milk. (To be fair, my milk had probably just started coming in that day). We feed him what I pumped and give him some formula because his weight was dropping over the past few days. I felt like a failure only three days into this whole adventure.

I get set up to take the hospital grade pump home with me so I can still encourage my milk supply while giving myself time to heal. The first week at home I was pumping every chance I got. Wanted to come over and see the baby? Well there was a good chance you were going to see my boobs too. Any bit of modesty I had was gone while I was determined to make this work for us.

The pediatrician confirms that he has a tongue tie and I’m told that I’ll get an appointment with an ENT. This whole process seemed to take forever. I took things into my own hands and scheduled an appointment. Then I was reading about tongue ties and that ENTs typically will snip them with a pair of scissors. But, there was another, better option. Laser revision. I had to find a pediatric dentist that would do this.

Everyone recommended Dr. Kaplan in Stoughton, MA (no one performed the laser revision in RI). I called and called, never go through. Left a few messages and I didn’t hear back.

Another recommendation was for Dr. Kitley in CT. Only an hour away? With a five day old? No big deal. They could fit us in that day. Nevermind that the only trip so far with the baby was the 20 minute ride home from the hospital the day before. I was convinced the sooner we could do this, the better it would be for breastfeeding.

The Dr. examined B and confirmed what everyone had been telling us. It was a pretty severe tongue tie and he wasn’t able to get his tongue far enough past his gums to nurse effectively. In essence he was just chomping away at me for three days with just his gums. Ouch.

Since we had traveled quite a way, he was able to fit us in to do the revision with the laser that day. I sat outside the room, while my husband held our screaming newborn during the procedure. Talk about gut-wrenching emotions. I don’t think I’ve ever cried more. After it was done, we were told we could try to breast feed immediately. Little guy wouldn’t latch. I felt like time was the enemy at this point. Every day that went by was taking away the chances of this working for us. He took to bottles like a champ so I felt like he would never want the breast when it was so much more work for both of us.

We went home to and I went back to the pump.

The next day was his week check-up with the pediatrician. He had gained some weight and was now just three ounces below birth weight, hooray! (I was disheartened that this was likely because of formula and not my milk). A friend told me about a breastfeeding support group that met at the local hospital. That same day we went there as well.

The lactation consultant leading that group was so much more helpful than the one where I delivered. She was calm and helpful and I just felt at ease. She listened to everything that had been happening the past week and offered me a nipple shield.

B took right to the shield. It immediately made me feel better. Like, maybe, just maybe this might work out. He got some milk, I didn’t have pain…win win.

Drinking the milk is so hard.

Drinking the milk is so hard.

The following week we worked our way off formula and he was nursing with the shield pretty exclusively for the next three weeks (with an occasional bottle of pumped milk when I felt like I needed a break at night). Then we had our four week check up at the pediatrician. He hadn’t gained a single ounce. I couldn’t believe it. He was nursing for extended periods of time. I was convinced he was getting tons of milk. I was heartbroken. We had actually started supplementing with formula the night before his one-month check up because at the breastfeeding support group he was nursing for about an hour and took about an ounce and a half. The pediatrician said we should keep supplementing.

I had been so proud. We were just getting to the point where he could nurse a couple of times without the shield. What I realized later, is that maybe the shield actually reduced my milk supply. Little B has such a strong suck that he was actually pulling my nipple into the shield so much that he was blocking the holes. Essentially nursing and sucking for such extended periods of time, but the milk was never removed, so of course, my body wasn’t triggered to make more.

So, I figured I’d supplement for a while, work really hard at getting my supply back up and we would be exclusive breast-feeding once again. Well, three months later we are not there.

His latch never really improved to the point where it was painless for me. Every one was telling me that it shouldn’t hurt and I was just sitting there shrugging my shoulders because it did and I tried everything to make it better. A couple of days of nursing completely without the shield was just unbearable so I decided to go back to pumping.

And now at almost four months, that is still what works for us.

I haven’t been able to give up nursing completely. Going back to work has actually made this easier for us. And the fact that he mostly sleeps through the night now. I get nice and full over night, and that first feeding in the morning makes me so happy and I have enough milk to fill up his little tummy. I feel like even though I might only be able to nurse him once or twice a day…all of the trouble to get to that point was worth it.

At times, I feel like it was ridiculous for me to be so adamant about breastfeeding. After my milk came in, the thought of just letting it dry up was impossible. So here I am four months later, still nursing, pumping and supplementing. Sometimes I feel like life would be a heck of a lot easier (and less painful) if I just switched to formula.

And on a daily basis the thought of giving up still crosses my mind. But then we wake up, and we nurse and, in that moment, nothing could be better.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 487 other followers

%d bloggers like this: