Change will do you good

As if having a baby wasn't enough change for me this last year, I have decided to change jobs.

A lot changed after having Winston, more than I was prepared for. Putting Winston in daycare was tough and I wasn't feeling satisfied at work, which made it even tougher. It took me a long time to make the decision, but ultimately, I decided I need to change in order to grow my career.

Friday I gave my bosses notice. That was one of the hardest conversations I've had to have. I'd be lying to say that I have no second thoughts. I feel like I'm letting my bosses down or something along those lines. It was like I was breaking up with them, which is probably the most appropriate analogy. You don't work in a small firm for 5 years without developing a relationship with the people around you. I wasn't quite prepared for how hard it was going to be.

But I keep reminding myself two things: 1) Change is good and 2) We don't usually regret the things we do, we regret the things we don't do. So I'm stepping into a bit of unknown by taking a new position. It's a step up in responsibility. I've been quoting Office Space all week: "It's a big promotion. You'll have up to four people working directly under you." So not exactly, but I have accepted a position as squad leader, which sounds so much cooler than structural engineer.

I'm nervous as hell. I've never been responsible for others' work and I've never worked on the design side. Then there is new people, office politics, and new standards that come with a large office. It is a little scary but the only way to grow is to get outside your comfort zone.

With that, I'll end with a picture of Winston. This was a month ago now. I can't believe how fast this year has gone.

Winston pictures always brighten my day.


Time flies

...when you're having fun. Jeesh, it's been a while.
At the campground we stayed at in Denali National Park.
Hmm, where do I begin? Winston is almost 8 months old, which is hard to believe. We were recently in Alaska for John's work. The kiddo did great, but I won't be flying with him again any time soon.

I DNF'd Kansas. I will preface this by saying that I was completely undertrained going in, so maybe it's a good thing I DNF'd. But (once again) my lack of post-baby logistical planning got the better of me. I didn't think to try on my wetsuit prior to the race and as it turns out, my "workin' boobs" don't quite fit in my wetsuit and I was hauled out of the water by some very kind volutneers. And then I needed help getting the damn thing off.

Life lesson: Don't sign up for any races while you're pregnant. Someone please remind me of this if/when #2 is on the way.

As for the elimination diet, that saga continues. I did feel better, sleep better, and have more energy while I did it and I lasted about 3-4 weeks. So I went to a GI specialist and was completely disappointed in his opinion (take Fibercon and a prescription antacid) besides I felt like he didn't really listen to me. It didn't help he was as old as the hills. I have found a registered sports nutritionist and wellness expert that I'm going to work with to determine my food sensitivities. I never even filled that prescription and I thought it was a little careless of him to give me a prescription, tell me I have no choice but to take it, and not discuss the potential side effects, like poor nutrient absorption which can lead to all sorts of health problems including osteoporosis, which runs in my family.

Psshh, Western medicine. "Here's a pill, now stop complaining." I'm turning into a hippie in my old age. Between the good results I had on the elimination diet and a book I'm reading, "Digestive Wellness", I have high hopes that I will get to the bottom of this. I didn't realize how bad I felt all of the time until I did the elimination diet.

But probably the biggest change in the last few months has been that Winston sleeps like a champ. I mean 12 hours a night without a sound. Teething is the exception, and that doesn't bother me one bit. You know, being a parent is so much easier on a full night's sleep. It also doesn't hurt that I have the cutest damn kid ever.

Cyclist in training


Elimination Diet - Week 1

Week 1 of my Elimination Diet ended with the Rock the Parkway 1/2marathon on Saturday.  The race and my registration debacle deserve a separate post but the nutrition aspect is important.  Actually, what's important is that I didn't have any GI issues.

One of us was much more serious about this race than the other.
This last week has been a little tough and I did cheat a little (brand new package of 2-year aged white cheddar from WI.  I had to have a little).  But for the most part I was good.  I think coffee and cereal are what I miss the most.  Breakfast is the most difficult but I've found a good option, it just requires prep the night before.  One thing I learned is that when I cook, I always make more so I have leftovers in the fridge.  Other than fresh fruit, there is nothing quick to eat on this diet.

So right now, my preferred breakfast is banana quinoa with coconut milk.  I cook 1 cup quinoa as directed, then put in 2 overripe, mashed bananas, 1 tsp salt and coconut milk to cover and cook on low to combine.  I put it in the fridge and  eat it hot or cold in the morning.  Today I added blueberries as well.  I've been buying Silk brand coconut milk and it's pretty good.  It's fortified with calcium, which I need.  And it makes a great chai tea.

I'm feeling better and definitely less gassy.  Besides everything I listed last time, I found raw carrots also cause problems.  I also went to my primary care doc and have a referral for a GI specialist. I'll be calling this week.  It would be nice to have a professional agree with whatever I find (or tell me why I'm crazy).  So it goes on.  Week 2, here I come.



It's been a while, I know.  I swear I'd blog more if I could do it one-handed.  Quick family update: Winston is battling a cold since January but otherwise he's about the happiest kid you can imagine.  Work is work, but that's for another day.  Half marathon training is... done for all intensive purposes.

Next week is Rock the Parkway and I'm not as prepared as I'd like.  Big surprise. We've had a rough month, sleep wise, which has left me chronically sleep deprived and lacking motivation.  On top of that, I'm still having lots if GI issues, which is usually reflected in the little one as well.

To be honest, I've always had GI issues but they've been manageable.  The gluten problem became noticeable when I started 70.3 races and when I was pregnant.  Since I love all things carbs, I went right back to gluten after Winston was born.  I don't know if gluten is my only problem or one of many.  So with a big push from John, I'm starting an elimination diet.  Today.  Right now.

I'm am not happy about this.  But apparently, since my problems are passed on to the munchkin, John is really tired of the two of us feeling like crap.  It was an elimination diet or go to a GI specialist.  This seemed the better option than having a scope stuck up or down anything.  But I'm still not happy. Especially since John has only committed to doing it with me "82%".  But he has graciously offered to eat all the food in the house that I can't have.  For the next. 3. weeks.

I'm going to try to do it all, which means eliminating gluten, legumes (soy, beans, etc), dairy (this will be a tough one), beef, caffeine, alcohol, nuts & seeds, and sugar.  What in the hell do I get to eat you ask?  Some meats, rice & quinoa, veggies, fruits, water & tea.  Except I have a hard time with green tea, so even that's out.

And I'm supposed to keep a diary of food, sleep, mood, etc.  After 3 weeks I can start to reintroduce foods in, one new food every 3-4 days to track any changes.  Let's get started: Day 1 - pissed off.  The neighbors are all standing outside in this gorgeous weather, drinking beer.  I'm trying to plan what in the hell I'm going to eat all week.  I should look at this as an experiment and maybe that will make it more tolerable.  We'll see.  If I can run the half on Saturday without any GI issues, it may be worth it.


Lab Rat

Take two daily
Before Winston was born, a friend alerted me to a study that KU was conducting.  The study is following breastfeeding women to see if high doses of DHA prevent bone loss due to lactation.  I qualified for the study and set everything up with the researchers before Winston was born.  Then I went back in a few weeks later to get my pills.

I did know it, but apparently when women lactate, the lose up to 8% of their bone density, which is a fairly large amount.  It makes sense - I have to assume it takes a large amount of calcium and other minerals to produce breastmilk, I just didn't realize it affected bone density.  My mom was diagnosed with pre-osteoporosis years ago, before turning 50 if I remember right.  Since this study does no harm at the least and may help bone density at best, I thought it'd be good to volunteer.

The study is using either a placebo or 2 grams of DHA in pill form.  (DHA is a type of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil.)  For comparison, John and I have been taking a high-potency fish oil in gel form.  The standard dose for an adult is 230 mg DHA or 0.23 grams.  The study does is almost 10 times that amount.  That's some expensive fish oil!

Besides getting my pills, I had to answer a bunch of questions, have height, weight, and blood pressure measured, give blood, urine, and breastmilk samples, and have a bone density scan done.  In the following 3 months I also had to do a food diary for one 3-day period.

I had my 3 month follow up a few weeks ago where I learned, much to my delight, that I'd lost almost 10 pounds since my first visit.  And as luck would have it, the kinesiologist who operates the bone density scanner is a triathlete.  After the study is over, he offered to do a body composition scan for free (read: very expensive body fat test that normal people not associated with a university or professional athletes don't have access to.  Score!).

I'm pretty sure I'm not in the placebo group.  How do I know?  Like any good engineer, I wanted to know what was in the capsule.  And unless they are going to great lengths to produce very realistic placebos, I would venture based on the odd citrus-fish smell that I have the real deal.  Don't ask me why they use citrus to mask the fish but the fish oil John and I buy does the same thing.

There is some compensation involved.  I get paid a whopping $25 for each visit I complete.  I have visits at 6 mo, 12 mo, and 18 mo.  It doesn't even cover my hourly pay for the time each appointment takes, but assuming I do have the fish oil, the cost of supplements is worth it.  And why not help further research?  Maybe in a few years it will be standard for breastfeeding women to get prescription fish to help prevent bone loss.


Heavy Duty

While doing laundry not too long ago, I realized that my new breastfeeding boobs had completely destroyed the elastic on several of my old sports bras.  During my runs, I started to notice that even doubling up wasn't doing the trick any more.  So I decided it was time to upgrade to some seriously heavy-duty sports bras so I could once again run in comfort.
I should admit that I never buy expensive sports bras.  I usually use the $15 Target ones and have never had any problems.  I'm also not very good at replacing them every year or so.  The ones that I wore out were probably 5-10 years old and ready to be replaced anyway. 
Man, was I shocked at the price of a high quality sports bra.  I used the sports bra guide in the Title 9 catalog but didn't actually buy one through them.  I wanted to be able to try one on since I had no idea what my actual size has become.  I wandered down to Ultramax, my favorite local triathlon store, since I knew they carried Moving Comfort bras, some of the best-rated sports bras I've found.
After getting over the sticker shock of $56 for a sports bra, I bought this one.  Moving Comfort Juno.
Front view

Back view
This bras was advertised as no bounce, which was exactly what I need.  These boobs are working boobs now and I need a sports bra just to go for a walk, let alone run.  It has front adjustable straps and a back hook and loop closure.  It's a little difficult to put on the first time, but one you get the hang of it, it's easy.

I'm glad I went in to try a few on.  The first one I tried, I underestimated the size of my new boobs and when I went to pull it on, the front straps tore loose and went flying!  Next size up, please.  But I did find the right fit eventually.

This sports bra is great if you're large chested and want to run without giving yourself a black eye.  Not that I've tried a ton of control sports bras (I couldn't afford it) but I really love this one.  It is a little work to put on and get adjusted, but it's totally worth it.  I've been able to increase my mileage, and I've even put in a few faster miles (sub-8:30 pace) in this bra, all without bounce.  I liked it so much I bought a second one in white.  The only downside is that once I stop breastfeeding, I probably won't be able to wear either of these. 



This last weekend, I ran 5 miles.  It wasn't pretty.  It wasn't easy.  But it's progress nonetheless.  I've got to be honest, I'm not very happy with my current physical state.  I keep trying to tell myself to lighten up but it's hard and humbling when I'm reminded exactly how much I can't do every time I go out.

I'm a little nervous for the 1/2 marathon in April.  I have two and a half months to work my way up to 13 miles and it's going to take a while.  We won't discuss the 70.3.

I usually try to keep everything here fairly positive but I'm going to indulge in a little bitch session.  Feel free to stop reading.

I feel overwhelmed.  I feel isolated. My entire world has been turned upside down with Winston and for the most part it's good.  But it was a huge change in a short amount of time and I'm still trying to adjust.  My career and role at work is different (read: completely inconsequential due to my flexible and reduced schedule).  My relationships have all changed.  My free time is nonexistent.  My body still feels foreign.  I love my little boy more than anything but I still feel like I lost something.  I suppose this is probably all normal but no one talks about it.  All of the new moms I know are just over the moon about being a mom so I don't have anyone to talk to.  I feel like a crappy mom.  I hope it's just the sleep deprivation and hormones talking.



It wasn't all that long ago that running 4 miles was my long run.  Back then, I was a size 12 (but ironically only weighed 150lb) and if I ran too much, I had nagging knee problems.  I didn't bike or swim, just the occasional run and lifting. I was told my bad knee was the result of poor genetics - my grandmother has had both her knees replaced and my mom had her first knee surgery at 30.

I started doing triathlons, lost a few pounds, dropped down to a size 6, and magically, my knee problems vanished.  Biking (along with weight/body composition) is the key to keep my knees happy and healthy.  I'm sure my improved diet also helps.  The point is, genetics had less to do with my bad knee than my excess weight.

Then I had a baby.

I stopped riding and spinning maybe 5 months in.  I put on weight.  I stopped running at 32 weeks.  I put on more weight.  I had a baby and ceased all physical activity for 6 weeks.  To be fair, of the 35 lb I gained, I had lost close to 30 lb of that within 2 weeks of giving birth but my body composition is nothing close to what it used to be.

Even so, when I started running again, I was surprised that my knee hurt.  Kept hurting.  I capped all my runs at 3 miles and I've started spinning in the garage, doing yoga at home and lifting weights.  But it hadn't gotten much better.  The cold temps don't help but I really thought after a week or two of spinning that it would go away.  I guess I need to start spinning more often.  Hopefully the knee will be back to normal soon.  One of these days, I need to start training for my upcoming races.  Even if not for speed, I'd like to be able to cover the distances and NOT feel like I was run over by a bus.


Goals and a reality check

2013 has arrived with little fanfare around here.  With a 7 week old in the house, there was no reason to stay up until midnight since I knew I'd be up shortly after to feed the baby anyway.

This probably sounds stupid, but I'm realizing how much more complicated having a little one makes life.  Even if Dad is watching him for the day, I have to feed him and pump another bottle before I leave.  Or like yesterday, I worked a few hours then went to the gym and had to pump in the locker room before working out.  There is a distinct possibility that I will have to pump in T2 for the Kansas 70.3 before starting the run.  Won't that be interesting.

Besides that, scheduling things in general is tough.  John and I both need some "me" time for our general well-being and sanity and we also need some couple time, too.  Right now both are hard to come by.

Then there is the fact that it's hard to put in a good workout, or any workout, after a rough night.  Last night I was up 3 times and never got more than 2.5 hours of sleep at a time.  And Winston had a rough day today.  So I didn't work out, I didn't eat lunch until 4:30 pm and my biggest accomplishment was not feeding the baby to hungry crocodiles.  Trust me, I thought about it.

I guess the whole point is that I probably need to dial my expectations back.  Maybe fitting back into all of my pre-pregnancy pants by June will have to be enough.