Wineglass Marathon 2017 – Part 2

26.2 – I’m All the Way Crazy

“I can’t believe I’m about to run a marathon. I am so grateful I am here today. I am so blessed to be able to RUN.”

“GOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

And off we went. Not fast, because there’s a huge crowd at the starting line of most races, but the energy in the air tingled and buzzed with excitement, as if we were all flying. I was SO COLD, except for my hands, which were toasty warm thanks to a pair of hand warmers tucked into my $1 pink gloves. I nervously chatted away, certainly annoying the runners around us. I overheard one person say to their buddy “I’m not talking now; gotta conserve my energy!”

Ha ha. That wasn’t directed at me, I’m sure.

People lined the streets, brandishing homemade posters and cowbells. The guy with a whiteboard who’d written “Athletic Supporter” gave me a chuckle every time I saw him. There were boisterous cheers, kids jumping up and down, babies bundled under blankets, and I noticed that everyone spectating was wearing hats, gloves, winter coats, etc. Here I was in my Teeny Tiny Short Shorts and t-shirt. Yeah! Cold. I finally started to warm up around mile 3 and tossed away my arm sleeves shortly thereafter; I ditched the gloves and hand warmers at mile 4. That was a bit premature, as I would soon discover.

Despite the frigid air, I felt great. It was clear and sunny and there were patches of thick fog filling the valley where we ran. I drank some lemon-lime sports drink/water mixture from my hydration vest, ate a packet of Annie’s fruit snacks (VEGAN!), and tried not to think about how many miles were ahead of me. It was just another long run, no big deal.

Except on most of my long training runs, there were breaks. We would often stop to pick up additional runners or say goodbye to runners or pose for a group photo. I’d run into Gold’s Gym to pee or trot over to my car and drop off a headlamp. Paces on those runs were anywhere between 9:15 – 10:30/mile. Today, I was aiming for a consistent 9:30/mile pace and wasn’t planning to stop unless there was an emergency. Other than fatigue and acute starvation, I had felt fine after all of my training runs so I was pretty confident that today would be no different.

Around mile 7 or 8, I decided that even though the last thing on my mind was food (highly unlike me), it was time for more fuel, but I couldn’t get my fingers to wrap around the second packet of fruit snacks. Too cold. Raynaud’s syndrome makes my hands and feet extremely susceptible to cold temperatures. With all of the blood pumping furiously to my large muscles, there was nothing circulating through my fingertips. Remember how I threw away my gloves? Yeah, bad idea. A kind gentleman assisted me, we passed through a water stop where I drank some full-strength Gatorade, and continued on. Mile 10.

The course is beautiful. You follow along a good stretch of I-390, so there is a bit of traffic noise, but there’s also the Cohocton River, rolling hills, pastures filled with cattle and horses, and a couple of quaint little towns tucked along the way. There were several moments where I took in my surroundings and was overcome with the emotion of simply being THERE, running a marathon, running. Gratitude for every run is something you begin to feel and understand after an injury prevents you from running for weeks, and I was not taking this day for granted.

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At exactly 13.1 miles, a guy I’d been chatting with about music said “See ya! I’m done! Have a great run!” and peeled away from the group. How strange it seemed to me – signing up to run a marathon with no actual training, and quitting long before the finish line, before any actual fatigue settled in, because he was just there to enjoy a run! I still felt mostly good; my stomach was not particularly happy, which was unusual since I rarely suffered from digestive issues on training runs, but you don’t run a marathon and expect it to be feel great, right? I could handle discomfort! Hell, this strong body had given birth to four healthy, good-sized babies without drugs…what couldn’t I tackle?

Mile 20.

Around mile 18 I started feeling tired. Heavy legs. Angie and I had been talking almost nonstop this entire time and now we were running out of things to say…or rather, I was running out of things to say since I tend to talk and talk and talk and talk. I slurped at a “TriBerry” flavored GU, not a “food” (I use that term loosely) my body was accustomed to consuming, but I needed the energy. More Gatorade. It didn’t help. I was able to keep up the pace a little longer, but by mile 20 I was struggling.

Angie: “Do you want me to push you, or…”

Me: “GO. Run your race. I’ll be fine.” I meant it.

I had mentally prepared for this moment, knowing that Angie had trained with the Hanson Marathon method and was most certainly better equipped to withstand the rigors of the end of the race. To avoid aggravating my IT injury, I had stuck with a more conservative 4-day-a-week training plan, and now I feared it was showing. My pace went from a fairly consistent 9:30 to 10:00…to 10:15. I put in earbuds, loaded up @runningacrossohio’s interview on the “Freedom to Run” podcast, and hunkered down for the final 6.2 miles.FullSizeRender-7

All I wanted to do was quit. I wanted to walk. I wanted to curl up on the side of the road and close my eyes and let the breeze travel over my head, dry off my sweat-soaked clothes. My legs had gone from feeling strong to weighing one hundred pounds each. It was hot. (A bank thermometer read 60 degrees at the end of the race.) I was thirsty but nauseated, afraid to drink too much and have everything come back up. I ate my fourth packet of fruit snacks and swore I would never eat them ever again as they lodged firmly in my throat for the remainder of the race. At that point I was running through a park, and there were onlookers enjoying a cool, beautiful Sunday. Not me. I wasn’t enjoying anything. We were now on city streets, running through Corning. I could see the iconic Little Joe Tower not too far in the distance, and the streets were lined with more and more people. I turned a corner, feeling like I was barely moving, and suddenly there was the finish line! It was SO. FAR. AWAY and I had no more gas in the tank to push myself faster, as much as I longed to truly race to the finish. Nope. The body would not obey the mind, would not listen to the will of my spirit, no matter how hard I wished for my muscles to move.

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I saw my friends Amber and Jordynn on the sidelines, who had finished running the half marathon hours before. A high-five from Amber put a smile on my face and I managed to cross that finish line without stumbling, slowed my legs to a halt, and picked up the glass medal I had most definitely earned over the past several months.

I limped to a portapotty. I drank a can of Coke in the space of about two minutes. I needed to eat but the thought of food was so unappealing. Someone handed me a Mylar blanket. I wrapped that piece of crinkly plastic around me like a superhero cape and gingerly sat down with a bagel in one hand and my medal in the other.

I absorbed the feeling of not moving.

I RAN A MARATHON.

I FINISHED A FREAKIN’ MARATHON.

At that moment I needed someone to travel back in time to 1990, when I was in middle school and Mr. Enders told our gym class that anybody could run. He demonstrated the slowest, most pathetic looking walk-jog for us, and I tried to “run” like he did, but my body rebelled even doing that. I couldn’t breathe normally for years because of untreated asthma, and as a result I was terribly out of shape. I also hated any activity that required me to wear shorts because my legs were covered with eczema and I didn’t want anyone to see it.

At that moment I needed someone to tell thirteen-year-old Beth that someday she would run a marathon.

Or tell a broken, self-loathing, emotionally battered adult Beth that someday she would heal her body, her mind, and her spirit, and train to run a marathon.

I’ve heard people say that a marathon is a quest covering hundreds of miles, with a final test of 26.2 miles. To say that I was happy with my finishing time is an understatement. I had three goals for finishing:

  • run a 9:30 pace, finish in 4:09
  • run a 9:45 pace, finish in 4:15
  • run a 10:00 pace, finish in 4:22

Of course one is supposed to simply finish their first marathon and not worry about time, but that’s not really how I roll, so the fact that I solidly achieved my B goal left me feeling pretty darn good.

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Chip time: 4:15:48.55 Watch time: 4:16:16 Gun time: 4:17:31.33

Angie had finished strong, with a few sub-9:00 miles thrown in at the end (rock star!), and we slowly made our way to the YMCA to change out of our gross running clothes. The ride home through the Finger Lakes region was beautiful and we talked about future running plans, the trials and tribulations of raising four children and encouraging them to run. We both noted that neither one of us was saying “I’ll never run a marathon again.”

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We did it!

Recovery was faster than I thought it would be – I struggled walking down the stairs for a couple of days, but I was back to swimming on Tuesday and running on Wednesday and it felt surprisingly good. Plans are in the making for another marathon in the future, as I consider what worked (cross training!) and what didn’t (RACE NUTRITION! Uninterrupted long training runs!) for this race.

 

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Wineglass Marathon 2017 – Part 1

DREAMING BIG

Back during a chilly training run in early March, I was discussing marathons with my running friend Christine, who had run two marathons previously and was therefore by definition An Expert Runner. At that time, I was halfway through training for my first Big Goal, a sub-2:00 half marathon, which would be the Flower City Half Marathon scheduled for April 30th. But eight miles into the run that morning, after waiting for a train to pass in the village of Fairport, both of my legs cramped up and my right knee felt like it had been stabbed by a nail. I managed to make it back to my car, but I had never experienced pain like that while running. I stubbornly ran the Syracuse Half Marathon two weeks later and barely missed my goal time by 26 seconds, but it hurt. A lot. A visit to a physical therapist confirmed IT band syndrome, which sidelined me for several weeks. I missed the Flower City Half; I missed the Right to Run 19K, and I missed countless days of running while I slowly recuperated through swimming, biking, yoga, physical therapy, and tears.

The silver lining to all of this was being introduced to triathlon, as swimming became my go-to workout for the remainder of the spring and early summer. After successfully completing the Pittsford Triathlon in early June, I signed up for the Old Forge Triathlon, and around the same time I thought “well, why not try for a marathon, too?”

I often make these irrational “I’ll worry about the details later” types of decisions. Sometimes they work out well. Other times, not so much.

The Wineglass Marathon, held in Corning, NY,  is an excellent beginner’s marathon because the course is almost completely flat; in fact, you are actually running downhill from Point A (Bath) to Point B (Corning).

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I figured the worst that could happen is that I would start training, my knee would hurt again, and then I could defer the race until next year. I reeeeeeallly wanted to run a marathon during my 40th birthday year, though, so I started planning. Plans. I love plans. I adapted the Hal Higdon Novice 2 training plan – four days of running per week, two days of cross training, and a rest day. Since I was simultaneously training for the Old Forge Triathlon for two months, the cross training days were perfect for swim and bike workouts, and my rest days were usually an extra swim or yoga workout. Here’s an outline of what my schedule looked like:

Sunday – bike/swim/yoga
Monday – run 4-5 miles
Tuesday – track workout/tempo run 6-9 miles
Wednesday – run 4-5 miles
Thursday – bike/swim
Friday – rest/yoga
Saturday – long run

My training went fantastically well. I didn’t miss a single run other than the 18-miler I skipped the weekend of the triathlon. I figured a 1/2 mile swim, 22-mile bike ride, and 4-mile run was roughly the athletic equivalent of a long run. I didn’t get sick, I had very little knee pain, and only a few weird aches during taper week (more on that in a moment). In fact the only thing I struggled with was being Constantly Hungry, a common affliction of marathoners, for which the only cure is Constant Eating. Sadly, Constant Eating usually leads to Slight Weight Gain, an unfortunate side effect of marathon training, but once I eliminated my trigger food (CHOCOLATE CHIPS) from my diet and substituted them for healthier snacks like raisins, I started to – yeah, I’m lying. I couldn’t kick the chocolate chips until about two weeks out from the race. Constant sugar cravings. I’m still fighting the urge to eat around the clock.

Anyway, up until taper week, I was doing pretty well. I probably would have continued doing just fine if it wasn’t for the fact that everything I read warned me about how awful tapering is for runners. It’s true that I struggle with resting; I tend to be an on-the-go person, and exercise is one of the ways I counteract that nervous energy. I’m certainly not the first person who runs to keep their sanity. So when the training plan called for two rest days, two days of short runs (3 miles/2 miles), two more rest days, and a 2-mile shakeout run, along with the “DON’T GO CRAZY DURING TAPER WEEK” articles that kept popping up during my research, I got a little nervous. I kept checklists with how much water I was drinking. I had started keeping a food journal again to see where I might be deficient in protein and vegetables, and where the junk calories were coming from (ahem, spoonfuls of peanut butter). I became slightly obsessed with my foam roller. I turned those rest days into swimming days since there was no way I could “sleep in” until 6:30am. In hindsight, I don’t think any of this did me any harm during the race, but I could have saved myself a little bit of mental anguish if I had done most of my preparatory reading BEFORE I entered taper week.

On the night before the race, I laid out my clothes, packed everything on my packing list, set my alarm, nervously double-checked it about eighteen times, and went to sleep.

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I *maybe* slept five hours. Coffee, oatmeal, peanut butter, foam rolling, extra deodorant, checking the weather (THIRTY TWO DEGREES FAHRENHEIT FOR F@&%’S SAKE), and I was ready for my 5:15 ride. Angie and I were driving down on race morning and I was SO GLAD I had a running buddy! (Running buddies are the absolute best. If you don’t have one, or several, you must find some. Really.) Anyway, my stomach was churning for the entire ride, which I thought was probably due to nerves and my Lovely Monthly Visitor which decided to make her appearance a day early just to make sure I was really on pins and needles for the race. Since my stomach was so unsettled, I couldn’t eat anything or drink very much in the hours leading up to the race. That would probably play a role later on in this story…

We arrived in Bath at about 6:45, right on schedule. First stop – portapotty. Second stop – find the shuttles that would take us to the starting line, about five minutes away, since no cars were allowed near the start.

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Blurry school bus selfie

There was a semi-heated garage where runners could hang out prior to the race, but once you stepped outside of it, the air was FREEZING. I was, as you can see in the photo above, outfitted in Teeny Tiny Short Shorts and a t-shirt, but I had thrown on a pair of old yoga pants, a pair of long socks with the feet cut off for arm warmers, and a thin hooded top to wear for the ride. I had no intention of throwing away my beloved ugly yoga pants, and since I had missed the memo that thrift store bathrobes were the preferred attire at chilly starting lines for races, off went my pants and shirt ten minutes before the start. Eternally grateful that Angie had brought hand warmers to stick into my $1 knit gloves.

 

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Inside the holding pen

We lined up near the 9:30 pacer, surrounded by shivering, scared, excited runners, clouds of breath hanging by our faces, as we listened to the National Anthem being sung by a woman who was also about to run her first marathon. I had so many thoughts in my head, but the ones I kept returning to were simply this:

“I can’t believe I’m about to run a marathon. I am so grateful I am here today. I am so blessed to be able to RUN.”

TO BE CONTINUED

A letter to a person who knows nothing about eating disorders

On Easter Sunday, I was blindsided by a comment made to me by a person in my extended family who hasn’t seen me in several months. Apparently this person had heard from other family members about my recent running accomplishments? habits? and decided that the change in my appearance since we last met coupled with running obviously meant I had an eating disorder. 

“So you’ve been running a lot? Do you have an eating disorder? Because that’s what running a lot can turn into, you know.”

I think I was so amazed that someone would actually utter these words TO MY FACE, all I could muster was an incredulous, sarcastic “Yes. Yes, I do” and I walked away. Then I wrote this after stewing for two days.
Dear ____,

I wasn’t going to say anything at all to you, but then decided that for my peace of mind, I needed you to hear my response to the careless, ridiculous, thoughtless comment you made to me on Easter Sunday in front of my mother-in-law and the other people standing in her kitchen. 

Thank you for noticing how my physical appearance has changed. I have never felt better in my life because I have never been healthier in my life. I turned forty in January and quit drinking all alcohol this past September. I have been eating a plant based diet and running since 2013, and on March 26th I ran the Syracuse half marathon in 2:00:26, just shy of my goal of a sub-2:00 race. In training for this race and the Flower City Half Marathon on April 30th, I injured my right IT band and have not been able to continue my training plan, which has been extremely difficult for me. Currently I am doing physical therapy to regain the full use of my leg and am hoping to get back to running as soon as I can. 

Running has been my rock and my sanity in recent times, and I have made many important friendships because of it. For you to assume that “running a lot” is equal to an eating disorder based simply upon my appearance is the most ignorant assumption you could make about me. What was made clear is that you know absolutely NOTHING about eating disorders. Someone who has proper training and expertise in working with disordered eating and body image issues would never make such a heartless comment to someone, especially as a joke. That makes it worse if you were trying to be funny. 

Runners take their nutrition very seriously, and I can assure you that the gobs of peanut butter that I put into my oatmeal every morning are never measured, I enjoy every drop of olive oil I spray liberally on the bucket of popcorn that I eat every night, and I eat as much pasta, bread, fruit, tortilla chips, vegetables, chocolate, and nuts as I want. I don’t measure or count calories for anything. I don’t eat any processed junk food. I couldn’t tell you how much I weigh because I don’t know and I honestly don’t care. And I know what disordered eating looks like because I used to live that way, and when I changed my eating habits for a healthier lifestyle, I threw all that crap away because I didn’t need it. 

I hope that next time you feel the need to make assumptions about someone, you can keep your judgmental comments to yourself. I may have been struck by dumbfounded silence this time, but I can assure you that if you ever make a comment like that to one of my children, I would not be so quiet. 

Beth

Run, run, leap.

One week ago today, on my grandmother’s birthday, September 18th, Charles Aschbrenner passed away.

One week ago today, I ran my second half-marathon. Despite arduous circumstances, including humidity and a hilly course, I earned a PR, running six minutes faster than my first race.

I do not think these two events are unrelated.

Charles taught at Hope College for 53 years, a feat that is almost unimaginable in today’s higher education environments, where budgets and tuitions swell along with the number of untenured adjunct faculty members. His Eurhythmics class was my very first college class, held at 8:30 on a Tuesday morning, in Snow Auditorium. There we were, a room full of wide-eyed freshmen and wizened sophomores (those were the dance majors, who were also required to take the class), walking around the room in a big circle, bouncing a tennis ball to the beat of whatever piece he happened to play that day. I had serious doubts about being asked to do such activities, especially as a self-conscious flannel-clad freshman, but my sense of timing and rhythm was pretty decent, which could not be said about several of my classmates.

He was also my piano professor. Since I entered college planning a major in music education, I would only be taking a two-credit lesson with him. About a year later, after several successful performances and a few unsuccessful education classes (Educational Psychology, or “How to Organize Eight Billion Pieces of Paper While Learning to Manage a Classroom Full of Hyperactive Kindergartners”), he convinced me that a Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance was much better suited to my skill set. Charles was very persuasive.

I remember only two instances when he was upset with me; I’m sure there were more, but these two stick out prominently in my mind. The first was when I skipped his performance of the Rachmaninoff 3rd piano concerto with the Hope College Orchestra. I don’t know what I was doing instead; I don’t even think it was a conscious snub on my part. I just didn’t know that one NEVER missed their teacher’s performances. I NEVER did that again.

The second time was during my junior year, when I was starting to develop an attitude – okay, continuing to exhibit a poor attitude – and the interim Chapel Choir director rubbed me the wrong way. I was the choir’s accompanist that year, but choir music was not at the top of my practice priority list, and I had every excuse under the sun as to why the music wasn’t ready. The director finally reamed me out at rehearsal one day, in front of the entire group, and I stormed into my lesson afterward and immediately started ranting. Unfair! Mean! What a jerk! How could he do that to me, etc.

Charles looked at me cooly, clearly displeased. “Well, were you unprepared?”

“Well, yeah, probably, but – ”

“Because you need to learn that every time your hands are on that keyboard, your reputation as a pianist is at stake.”

He didn’t take my side. He didn’t join me in complaining about how unjustified the director’s scolding was. He AGREED with him, and worst of all, I knew he was right.

I still had a long way to go when it came to being professional, but he helped me navigate those challenging waters. Competitions, graduate school auditions, recitals – all of it unattainable if it hadn’t been for his calm, unflappable demeanor and quiet support. Or not so quiet. That guffaw, whenever I said something funny, or when he sat next to me and demonstrated a passage – it just bubbled out of him, uncontrollably.

I’m thinking it was maybe five minutes after I officially graduated that he told me to call him Charles. We went out for a meal with my parents at some fancy restaurant whose name escapes me, and we stopped by his house afterwards. I remember his cat, Chopin, who made me sneeze almost as soon as I walked through the front door. I remember being overwhelmed by the art that crowded the walls, the Steinway grand overlooking the beautiful gardens in the backyard, the immense decorum and beauty found in that organized clutter. Tears, a huge hug, promises to stay in touch, and he told me how proud he was of me.

I have dozens and dozens of emails we exchanged over the years that I will now start to sift through, and there is his newly published website on Pulse Patterning that he finished working on this spring, even as cancer was weakening his physical body. I visited him many times after I graduated, most recently in early August of this year, right after he began chemotherapy treatments. I spent a little over an hour with him, holding his hand, making him laugh (carefully), showing him pictures, and best of all – I was able to tell him just how much he had meant to me, and changed my life for the better. I was able to say goodbye. How many people are fortunate enough to be able to do those things?

I am a professional musician today because Charles Aschbrenner took a young, naive, talented but undisciplined kid and turned her into a pianist. I took that leap, and once I did, I never looked back.

Mom’s sick. Cue the tiny violins of pity. 

Nobody likes being sick, unless you’re one of those people who likes to fill their schedule with a series of doctor appointments. I hate going to the doctor. I like to think that I have a pretty good handle on all things health-related, and being somewhat mistrusting of Big Pharma and our broken medical system being truly invested in my health and well-being and not profits, I usually resort to one of the most terrifying tools available to humankind: WebMD. (Close second: Google)

So about a month ago, when I was taken down by the absolute worst sore throat imaginable, I carefully swallowed my pride and headed over to Twelve Corners Internal Medicine, which for you Rochester peeps is not actually located anywhere near the Twelve Corners in Brighton. I get lost every single time I go there. The office is located in this huge Walmart-esque medical complex at the corner of Westfall and Clinton, and I always drive around that parking lot for fifteen minutes before I find the right building. Unbeknownst to me I was also running a fever of about 104, so besides being directionally challenged I was also somewhat delirious. My doctor took one look at my tonsils and actually CALLED THE OTHER DOCTOR into the room to take a look. To everyone’s disbelief two rapid strep tests came back negative, but in a classic “just-in-case” move I was prescribed an antibiotic and told to call back if things didn’t improve. 

Of course things did improve, albeit very slowly, which made me think that the infection was probably viral in nature, but oh well. I returned to my regularly scheduled life as soon as possible, fortified with coffee and ibuprofen. I started running again, which for some reason was wearing me out quicker than before. Three weeks after the initial illness, I had a repeat of the same exact symptoms: fever, sore throat, swollen glands, exhaustion. Back to bed. Recovery was quicker this time, and once my symptoms were gone I was back at it – piano teaching, accompanying, running, driving everywhere, chores, etc. 

Then I contracted mastitis. 

Back to antibiotics. Back to bed. Back to feeling like an absolute lump on a log. Few illnesses find me shaking from head to toe with chills underneath a blanket, but mastitis is THE WORST. Not to mention that it usually doesn’t strike past the first few months postpartum, and here I was with an almost one-year-old. It seemed to resolve itself after about 24 hours of being on drugs, so that was a good thing, but now Frederick was sick. Upset tummy, no appetite, fever, and general irritability. Hell hath no fury like a sick baby. His sleeping was a mess, and both Daniel and I were completely exhausted after being up multiple times during the night for several nights in a row. 

By Monday I was feeling back to normal, well enough to go for my morning run, and Freddie seemed better too. Whatever bug had ravaged his system was now manifesting in a classic roseola rash all over his back and belly, so my decision to keep him away from everyone and every living thing for the past several days had been a good one. We ran some errands, came home and ate lunch, and while both little ones napped, I stretched out to catch a few winks myself. 

I woke up feeling achy and more tired than when I had first laid down. Popped some ibuprofen, because kids still need to be fed and bathed and diapered, and dishes still need to be washed. By bedtime I was pretty sure I was down for the count again. During the night I woke up in a hot sweat, and when I checked my temperature in the morning, it was a wonderful 102 degrees. 

Damn it. 

Back to the doctor. This time he ordered a blood test, because obviously something funky was going on, but other than that and strict orders to rest, there wasn’t much he could do. I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening on the couch, alternately sleeping and watching “Hoarders” on Netflix, because one should always watch uplifting shows when you’re sick. And by “Hoarders” being uplifting, knowing that I do a pretty decent job of sorting through the crap that enters these walls makes me feel wonderful. 

Nobody likes a TMI post, and maybe I’ve already crossed the line, but it was a crappy night, and aside from painting both my fingernails and toenails and writing a blog post, I’ve pretty much done nothing except plan my perfect Pinterest wardrobe and check Facebook. I’m hoping to get the rest of my lab results back this afternoon; my CBC showed high levels of white blood cells (shocking), but that I am definitely not anemic, which as a vegan I am always concerned about. Lately I’ve been toying with reintroducing some animal protein into my diet, and I ate a fried egg for breakfast yesterday morning because nothing else sounded good. Eventually one gets sick of being sick, and I’ve always maintained that if something isn’t working, it’s time to try something different. Whether that means insisting upon a 9:30 bedtime, or taking a break from running for a little while (sob), or eating a chicken leg once in a while, I’m open to possibilities. I’ve been sick off and on for an entire month, and I just don’t have time for this. 

I’m tired. 

You know that feeling when you’ve been going all day long, and you’ve finally had the chance to brush your teeth, put on your pajamas, and climb into that glorious piece of neglected furniture known as BED?

It’s even better if there are clean sheets, but I’ll settle for the bed having been made, and not needing to shovel a pile of clean laundry off my side onto a different flat surface, or back into the laundry basket where it’s been for the past three days. 

For the last several months, that glorious feeling has been marred by two things:

1) the knowledge that in about six hours, I’ll have to get up and do it all over again, fueled by too much coffee

2) a baby that wakes up the minute I’m horizontal

We have six people living in a three-bedroom house. Just how it is, and we make it work like so many other things in our day-to-day existence. Boy No. 1 gets his own room because he never learned how to share anything, plus he’s the oldest. The girls share a room with bunk beds, too many books, pairs of tights, and stuffed animals. Daniel and I get the largest bedroom, which also houses the youngest member of the circus, Mister Frederick, the aforementioned wakeful baby. On one hand, it’s nice to not have to travel far to get him when he cries during the night. I have also enjoyed the luxury of us both falling back to sleep and waking up ALMOST RESTED after snuggling for who knows how long. Those days are coming quickly to an end, though, because Mister Frederick is almost one year old, and everyone knows that one-year-olds pretty much never stop moving ever, even when they are sleeping, thus rendering an almost restful night null and void. 

Anyway, there is nothing more demoralizing than collapsing into bed at the end of a long day that began somewhere between 4:30 and 5:30am, only to be immediately roused upon lying down by a fussy baby standing up in the crib and howling “Nah nah nah nah NAH” with increasing degrees of urgency. 

This too shall pass, I know, but in the thick of it all…I’m getting too old for this nonsense.