Saturday, September 07, 2013

Cambridge Harriers 10km: not really a race report

I ran a race the other day.  A nice little local 10km on rolling country roads, just 'round the corner from our place. 

It counted as my first RACE race since March 2011- I've done a few "events" since then, but as I was either pregnant or plain old unfit, none of them really felt like races. 

I finished a hair over 53 minutes, which was great as I'd been shooting for 55, but frustrating, as a number starting with 52 would have sounded just a little bit better.  I was happy with the time, but happier with the splits, which were all within about 15 seconds of each other, and involved an overall negative split of about a minute. 
I was happier still to be passing people pretty much the whole way, with a little bit of healthy leapfrogging for good measure.

(I also put my time and current weight into a little weight/age grading calculator, which says it's about the equivalent of a 48 minute 10k at my pre-pregnancy age and weight, not that that means anything).
It rained a lot before and after, but not much during.  The rain was frustrating as it meant the race morning wasn't how I'd envisioned it (jogging over, while the lads biked along later with my stuff) and because no matter how awesome and hardcore you are, running with wet socks is never fun.

I was surprised by how good it felt to be "racing" again.  Turns out that while I'm OK to be in maintenance mode, fitness-wise, a little bit of Old Kate still feels good.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Biking with ba...errr... toddler

Have I talked about our bike seat?  No? Well, I should've, because it's awesome.
We always knew we'd be finding some way to bike with Chip.  We've given up on the long weekend jaunts for the time being, and most of our large stable is sitting unused in the garage, but we still want cycling to play some part in our lives, and we wanted it to play some part in Chip's life from as early as possible.  We ended up waiting until shortly after Chip's first birthday; most advice I've seen recommends waiting until one, on the assumption that toddlers can sit and hold themselves well by that stage, plus we weren't exactly flush after Christmas, especially with the big first birthday also on the horizon.
We did a little bit of research ourselves, but we are fortunate to have a number of Bike Expert friends, including a few with roughly Chip-sized small people in their lives.  Chatting with them and a couple of online searches convinced us that we wanted:
- a seat, not a trailer; and
- mounted on the front, not back, handlebars.
This left us with two frontrunners- the Weeride Kangaroo, and the Ibert.  Most of the people we spoke to couldn't really give us much reason to go for one or the other, other than the Weeride was better if your child was likely to drop off while out riding (HA!).  Since our friends liked their ibert, and it came in a snazzy green, we went with the ibert.
We started off by attaching the seat to Phil's mountain bike.  I was still a tad nervous about riding with the baby, and we were hoping to go down to the forest to christen the seat as soon as we could! .  We found that the various criticisms we'd seen of the seat in online reviews were pretty apt- basically, steering takes a second or two to get used to, and it tends to require you to ride just a weeny bit bowlegged.  But, given our intentions as far as family rides go, these things are no big deal- we're not gnarly enough to take Chip on the kinds of trails that would require steep uphills and technical skillz.
After a few family rides, we moved the seat to Penelope, my town bike. I'm home with the boy two days a week and he was starting to ask for bike rides (by saying "BIKE, BIKE" or by fetching helmets) every afternoon I had him.  I originally wanted to use my mountain bike, as Penelope is rather heavy and clumsy, but Phil persuaded me and I'm glad I listened to him.  There's a lot more room for Chip's legs under the handlebars, and no need for me to adjust my legs much at all.
Chip and I probably go for a ride on 80% of our together days, usually in the mid-afternoon, and I'm guessing for about 40 minutes to an hour at a time.  We both prefer the bike over the stroller (though it's not as good a workout for me); Chip because he likes going that bit faster and sitting that bit higher (I think) and me because it's so very much easier to interact with him.  I can hear him talk and see him sign "more"; I can reach snacks/water in my basket and I can talk to him about what we see, where we're going, and road safety (I do this while jogging too, but we're much closer on the bike).  I feel safe knowing where he is and what he's doing at all times.  The downsides are that we get stuck in traffic/at intersections a little more, which really seems to get up Chip's nose (for this reason, use of the bike for errands has been minimal), and that Chip thinks he should be the one holding the handlebars and I disagree!
All in all, the ibert has been a great purchase and I'd happily recommend it to anyone looking to bike with their little one.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

How I'm fitting it in...this week!

From Friday's run fail!

As a (once, and trying to be currently) active Mum, I'm almost obliged to write a post about how I fit exercise in (with the subtext, or not-sub text, "if I can do it, you can TOO!").  I'd love to be writing a post about long runs with the stroller, leg aching naptime spin sessions and early morning swims, about weight loss and half marathon PRs, but as it turns out (and as I have written before) I can't do it.  Or, while I want to quite a bit, I don't want to "enough."

I have a few things which make "fitting it in" easier:
  • a no-longer-breastfeeding baby toddler
  • a super supportive spouse who works fairly normal hours
  • a part-time out-of-the-home job which presently is not particularly busy
  • a wind trainer
  • a headlamp
  • a set of Jillian Michaels DVDs
...and a few things that make "fitting it in" harder:
  •  a  toddler who's been in a bit of a Mummy phase since about 8 months (before that he was a bit more of an equal opportunity employer)
  • a part-time out-of-the-home job, which means I use up my "gran-sitting" allocation every week (!)
  • a part-time out-of-the-home job, which means I carry a hefty dose of Mama-guilt with me on my four non-work days (meaning I'm loathe to have much/any extra time away from him)
  • a toddler who is not not especially enthusiastic about naps, bedtime, staying asleep at night, or stroller time
  • a spouse who has his own fitness goals
  • the combination of baby-toddler and parenting philosophy which led to us becoming a co-sleeping family (on the upside, I get to sleep in for a bit if he sleeps in, on the downside, I can't get up without waking him).
So, with those things in mind, how did I fit some exercise in this week?

Monday: Rest.  My excuse: I had a doctor's appointment in the morning and errands to run at lunchtime.  Toby was sad and clingy when we got home, and I couldn't* go further than the kitchen while he was in the bath.  He wasn't keen on bed, and by the time he went to sleep (9pm) I didn't have the heart to exercise, knowing what chores I had ahead of me.
Tuesday: Run in the morning, about 25 minutes (should have been longer, I can't remember why I didn't get my A into G in time to leave earlier).  Sometimes I stroller this one, but this week Phil left for work a little later as he was travelling directly to Court in a nearby town.  30 Day Shred video in the first part of Toby's nap (I get 40 minutes to myself, but have learnt from experience that it's better for both of us if I sit near Toby for the rest of his nap- I can usually stretch that 40 out to 1:30 or so that way, and guarantee a happier baby for the afternoon).  Stroller walk to and from the park in the afternoon- not really "exercise" but it made for a more active than usual day.
Wednesday: 30 minute lunchtime run.
Thursday: 30 minute lunchtime run.
Friday: 20 minute fail "run" with Toby in the stroller- I gambled and lost on this one! I thought about doing another 30 DS during naptime, but decided the pile of laundry and dishes had to take precedence.
Saturday: 1:15 run while Phil took Toby to swimming (my "Mummy time" of the week)
Sunday: TBD, but the plan is for a 30 minute family run in the morning (we generally don't try for longer with the stroller), and maybe a family bike ride later (again, not really "exercise", but Toby loves it!)

Family trip to the Redwoods (aka Best Day Ever)

Looking back, it's been an OK week.  Most weeks look something like this- a couple of 30 minute lunchtime runs, my Saturday time is pretty sacrosanct, and we usually get out as a family at some point on Sundays.  But it doesn't take a lot to derail it either- a busy day at work, appointments on my non-work days, etc (that's not to say I couldn't work around those things, I just mean that the nice little "routine" falls down pretty easily). I could make better use of evening time- I need to stay close as T tends to wake overnight, but I could ride on the trainer [if I cleared out the backroom, which is currently full of clothes that Toby and I used to fit], or do strength work in the lounge, or kick Phil into the study and put a DVD on. 

*I do wonder often whether I should be a bit bolder about just doing it when Toby's being clingy.  Turns out I'm a sook, especially when you add in that big whack of working Mummy guilt, and just cannot brig myself to leave if he's screaming "Mamamama" with tears running down his face.  I just don't want it enough.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

On the awesomeness of having a toddler

So, having a toddler is awesome.* Even a toddler who doesn't sleep through the night, often refuses to go to bed until 9pm, and won't sleep longer than 40 minutes for his nap unless I sit with him (which I do- yay snuggles!)

And having had plenty of practice dealing with a busy, no-napping, stubborn and shouty baby, I've been fairly well-prepared for some of the several challenges that arise as a baby moves into the toddler-zone (carseat struggles, nap-resisting, active nappy and clothing changes and the like), and have knocked some of my toddler- mum paths for six.

That doesn't mean it's easy, cos boy is it exhausting, but OH, I am so much better** at it * than I was at having a baby.

What do I love about this age?

1- Burgeoning communication skills
Watching Toby learning to speak and sign is hilarious, delightful and such a privilege.  He is currently in one of those language explosion stages, with new words every day, and seems to have been finding more pride and satisfaction in picking up words over the last week or so.  He's more likely to use words to point something out to us, or request something, or just actually communicate rather than just naming things here and there.  I wish I could bottle the look on his face when we finally get it right. He practices improving his pronunciation ("boos...boods...boords, birds") and his hand movements, which I just adore.  His favourite words today are star, moon, bowl and egg, and he is loving animal noises.

2- Toddler dancing
Baby dancing is cute full-stop, but add walking, squats, and hip wiggles and I'm just dead.

3- Being able to DO stuff
Entertaining T was really tough for awhile (4-7ish months?).  He wasn't content to sit still, but couldn't do anything much else.  Wanted to be carried around so he could grab things we didn't want him grabbing, but didn't want to be worn in a baby carrier.   Was strongly opposed to lying on the mat with other babies, but also opposed to sitting on Mum's knee. Didn't want to sleep, but didn't much want to be awake either.  Things got easier and easier as he got older and more mobile and the sun came out, but now that he's been walking for a few months, things are really pretty good.  He can play on (some) playground equipment, enjoy visiting petting zoos, enjoy the bouncy castles at the indoor playground, dance and sing at Mainly Music, and go for walks.  At home he can hang out in the garden, do "art projects", set up messy play, "help" with chores, "bake", and really play "with" his toys.  This is not only good for the obvious reasons, but also because it makes this control freak Mum feel more in charge of our days.  If I'm feeling a bit afloat, I can de-funk by planning a fun activity for my next Toby-day.  I feel more like a "Mum" than just an exhausted and confused pile of exhausted hopelessness.

4- Affection
Sure, the constant "Mamamamamamamama" gets exhausting, but it's worth it for the sweet "Ma-ma"s, cuddles using his arms, open mouthed kisses, and the pitter patter of wee feet running towards me after a day at work.  I'm also loving seeing him bond with the other people in his life.  He loves telling me about his afternoons at Gran ("Gar") and Opa's ("Bou-pa") house, and looking at his far away relatives in his photobooks. His face lights up when the nanny arrives, and he gives her a big kiss and cuddle when he leaves.

There are more things I love, but that's enough gushing for now.  Please excuse the sunshine and roses post.  It's (definitely) not all like that, but it's nice to enjoy the bright side sometimes.

*so far...
**still not much good at it, but better at least!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

One year!


One singular sensation
Every little step he takes.
One thrilling combination
Every move that he makes.
One smile and suddenly nobody else will do;
You know you'll never be lonely with you know who.
One moment in his presence
And you can forget the rest.
For the guy is second best
To none,

Darling son,

Today you are ONE.  Our first year together is over, and the rest of our lives has begun.  

This month has seen you continue the transformation from big baby to small toddler, with a rapid increase in your understanding (or at least your demonstration of it), language that is continuing to improve, and your first steps.  You say "boo" when we lift the flap in the Spot book (under the flap is a mouse saying "Boo"), and you know how to get pretty much whatever we ask for- Monkey, Mr Bunny, books by title, shoes, balls and more.  You know where your stuffed animals' noses and eyes are, and when you cuddle them you give them your dummy.  You aren't walking yet, but you've gone from 3 semi-accidental shuffle steps to 14 more deliberate steps over the past few days, so I'm sure you're not far off.

You have continued to get into everything this month (I think that's called being 11 months old...)  Current obsessions include cupboards and doors, taps, containers and lids.  Our house got a little less childproof when you figures drawers and doors out.  Eek! No longer content to fill the bath with cold water during bathtime, you now prefer to empty it, trying to stop the water from gurgling down the drain after you've swiped the plug.

We cheated and kicked off your birthday celebrations in Wellington over the weekend.  And you, my dear, were a STAR.  From the moment you woke up from your pre-party nap til not too long before we wrapped up the festivities you were excited, and your happy, delightful, best self.  You enjoyed meeting new people, unwrapping presents, playing with the massive bunch of balloons, and swiping food from unattended plates.  The rest of the weekend was more up and down, but included some lovely, snuggly Manduca sleeps, playground fun, lots of hilly running and walking for Mum and Dad, chasing pigeons and Grandma and Poppa's small, patient dogs.  We're looking forward to a low-key birthday day, and a casual party with some of our local friends this weekend. 

It's been a heck of a year, Chip.  We are loving continuing getting to know you, and we know year 2 will be even more wonderful.