Monday, November 28, 2011

This is getting a little ridiculous

I have never been much of a crier. I cry for personal griefs and misfortunes, hurt feelings, the pain of loved ones, great societal injustices, yes, I cry. But heart tugging long distance telephone commercials, movies, tears of joy... never my thing. These pregnancy hormones are driving me crazy. I distinctly remember watching the Boy.le audition on youtube (which for anyone living under a rock as I was until a close friend made me aware of it about a year after it surfaced, you can see it here) before getting knocked up and thinking, 'cool, underdog makes good! You go girl!' But that was about it. Now I cannot watch the sucker without full-on tear tracks and runny nose. But it gets even worse... I cannot read the poem below without crying... it's not even sad... or even that moving...

Bed in Summer
Robert Louis Stevenson

IN winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle-light.
In summer, quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.

I have to go to bed and see
The birds still hopping on the tree,
Or hear the grown-up people’s feet
Still going past me in the street.

And does it not seem hard to you,
When all the sky is clear and blue,
And I should like so much to play,
To have to go to bed by day?

Yes, I know... I KNOW!! Nothing to cry over. I cried just now copying and pasting the sucker. I suppose it makes me think of la cocotte. How little she is in contrast to how big her toddler tragedies feel to her. How the little injustices she feels now will pale in comparison to hardships and bumps along the road she will inevitably encounter. How she will grow up so quickly and however much I try to drink in all the time I can with her now, I will inevitably wish I had held her more tightly, snuggled more often, buried my nose in her hair, stayed awake to watch her sleep, protected her more fiercely and though it feels impossible somehow loved her better.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A fair share of exercise

I read the phrase, "fair share of exercise" in mapp's blog this week, more precisely she wrote:

"it is not that often we get to meet people who do as much sports as us, and even less often (bordering on : never) that we meet parents of young children still getting their fair share of exercising (although, if you ask us, we're far from getting a share we would describe as "fair")"

The phraseology and the whole concept of a "fair share of exercise" really stuck in my brain. What is, indeed, a fair share of exercise? Is there a point at which exercising becomes selfish? What is a reasonable amount of time for a person on whom multiple people depend to devote to sweating? Finally, how do people work exercise into their lives in a manageable way.

Let me start at the end. How do I work exercise into my day without it becoming too burdensome on my family? Let's take this past week as an example though because I cannot run-commute right now since that necessitates running on pavement which my foot will not tolerate, this week is somewhat anomlaous. Anyway the point is not to examine the  work-outs I did, but rather at how they fit into the day:

Monday - off (that was easy)
Tuesday - got up at 5.45 am, out the door at 6 am for a 70 minute run, back at 7.10 am to shower, take over parenting duties from hubby and get la cocotte ready for daycare, out the door by 8 am.
Wednesday - asked hubby if I could work late and was genuinely planning to but got kicked out of office at 6 pm and so ran 20 minutes to the gym and did 50 minutes elliptical rather than heading home to help out with dinner and parenting. Got home by 7.30 pm, early enough to help with bedtime.
Thursday - Went to the gym after la cocotte had gone to bed. Completely exhausted. Only managed 32 minutes on the elliptical. Almost fell asleep on the locker room bench while trying to change.
Friday - Had a 9 am pre-natal appointment, Dropped la cocotte at daycare earlier than usual (7.45 am) and went for 75 minute run before appointment.
Saturday - as described in previous post, exceptionally went to a gym with daycare, did 40 minute spin class.
Sunday - got up at 5.45, ran to track, did mile repeats, ran home. Was home by 8 am to help out with parenting/breakfast etc.

Other ways I routinely get runs in - lunchtime runs (how cool is it that I have a) a gravel path that starts 50 m from my office and b) a shower at work??), run commuting, run-everywhere - to doctor's appointments, to grandmother's house, baby jogging during la cocotte's nap, running without la cocotte during her nap (therefore burden free for hubby).

So, looking just at this week, three of my six days of exercise this week placed burden on hubby (Tuesday, Wednesday, Sunday) and five of them placed burden on la cocotte (if you can call my absence a burden, most people call it a delight). And I realize as I write this that mostly I manage to get my exercise in by getting up early which means it is either at the expense of sleep or else at the expense of adult conversation after la cocotte goes to bed at 8 pm because I, completely exhausted, usually go to bed not long after. Though much of my exercise also comes at the expense of leaving hubby alone to get la cocotte ready for the day in the morning which he is totally capable of doing (more on this below), I don't mean to imply that without my presence things fall apart but it is certainly the case that in the morning chaos, a 2:1 adult to toddler ratio is more favorable than a 1:1, even if it does mean that there are two people competing for the bathroom instead of one (not being toilet trained yet, la cocotte doesn't enter the bathroom fray except as a friendly observer).

[As an aside: nothing leaves me more speechless than when people ask me if hubby "helps out" a lot at home. I truly don't know how to answer this question. Hubby does approximately 50% of the housework and child rearing. Is that "helping out"? I find the phrase super irritating and offensive to both me and him. Offensive because it implies that home making and child rearing is my responsibility but if I am lucky hubby will sometimes lend a hand. Offensive to him because, well actually for pretty much the same reasons.]

The amount of "burden" imposed by this week's worth of exercise seems to be at the limit of what is palatable for our family. To get anymore exercise than this really means more working out after la cocotte's bedtime which is the only time that is burden free or getting up obscenely early.

How do I feel about this amount of exercise? Actually, having worked out 6 times this week for a total of close to 80 kilometers of running equivalent kilometers feels probably like a bit more than my "fair share" of exercise. It is less than I would ideally like to train but given the givens, and the givens are: two parents with demanding jobs working full-time outside the home, currently spending massive amounts of time house hunting, 2 year old attention demanding toddler (wonderful but attention demanding) and oh yes, being six months pregnant, 80 kilometers per week over 6 days does seem somewhat, um, greedy for lack of a better word. Though it must be said that this week has been my best week for a long time, I have hardly broken 70 km per week throughout this pregnancy so I am trying not to feel too guilty about this week's indulgence.

What is fair? I guess it depends partially on what one's partner and offspring (if any) will tolerate in the way of absence. Exercise is draining on the couple not only for the actual time it takes but for constant fatigue it engenders. [Another aside, I have never really understood people who say that exercise gives them so much energy. Huh? No really... HUH?? It generally leaves me exhausted and mostly comatose I guess it's all a matter of dose]. The burden is probably even greater in a couple where one partner is not an athlete, as is our case. Most weeks, when I am not injured, I get in about 65-75 km of running - much of this is done in the form of run-commuting, the ultimate burden-free way to get exercise in. It is less than I want but I think a good compromise between my desires and being present (and not completely flaked out) for my family.
I know things will only get more difficult to manage when the second cocotte is born (note to self: need to figure out girl name, boy name AND nickname for number two).

Writing all of this I know I am extremely fortunate. I have a happy, healthy toddler. An amazing, affordable daycare. A demanding but fulfilling job so I really don't mean this as a whinge-session. But I am really curious to know how other people manage exercise and, well, life. Has anyone found an extra 3-4 hours in a day that I don't know about? Seriously... are there tricks I am missing?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Working out in the lap of luxury

The gym is called The Sa.nctua.ry. The name itself probably suffices to convey this health club's poshness inherent. Smiling staff, understated decor, soft jazz tones playing throughout (except in the spinning studio but I'll come to that... will I EVER come to that), flattering lighting, row upon row of gleaming equipment ostensibly never having been sweat upon despite the impossibly-thin, spandex clad bodies gyrating upon them proving otherwise. Indoor track (255 m), endless, fluffy towels, restaurant with complicated menu, daycare with reams of toys, large showers with ample hot water and amazing water pressure and a selection of hair and skin care products... quintessential lap of work-out luxury. I was invited for the day by a friend who is a member (who also kindly gave me a two week pass), I didn't looking into pricing, let's just say that my vague and unresearched understanding is that there is a 3-figure fee just to sign up, then the obscene monthly fee plus one's left kidney if you break your contract early. I didn't bother to ask because I know I am not willing to pay.

I have worked out in probably upwards of 30 work-out facilities in my 25+ years as a quasi-serious athlete. This was a totally novel experience. This place is so posh, I am surprised you cannot hire someone to go and do your work-out for you! Let's start with spin class, novel experience heaped upon novel experience. My first spin class ever. The pounding music and flashing lights could not have contrasted anymore with the zen-like feeling of the rest of "The Sanc.tua.ry". How do I describe it? Let's start with, and I realize that the following says way more about me and my self-absorption than it does about the gym but here we go, I was the fattest person in the room. My ego is SO not used to that. I am not talking fat as in my 6 months of pregnant belly fat... I am talking PPC not pregnant still would have been the fattest person in the room. I am not fat. When not pregnant I weight btwn 125-130 lbs (5'8"). I have some arm flab, a little roll on my tummy and yes, cellulite and sure, I would prefer that cellulite to not be there but that cellulite was along for the ride on a 2:54 Boston Marathon, that cellulite clung to my thighs as they ran 17:30 for 5 km. It's pretty functional cellulite. The bodies in that spin room were... perfect. Male bodies, female bodies, teenage bodies, not-so-teenage bodies... all uniformly lean, toned and beautiful. Like I say, I am not used to being the fattest person in the room, it was a little strange and yes, I hate to admit it, ego bruising. Then the clothes and the gear... oh the gear... I was definitely the only luddite actually checking their pulse using something as dated as the index-finger-to-the-carotoid method. And somehow I managed to be under-dressed... in a spin class. I am trying to figure out how that is even possible.

The work-out itself. Wow. I have not worked that hard on a bike since... ever. I have never worked that hard on a bike before. I think the ambiance of the room is precisely designed to cut one off from all biofeedback (perhaps that is why everyone around me has heart rate measuring capabilities) the pounding music made it impossible to hear the sound of my own breathing, the dark, cool, small room combined with the night club flashing lighting somehow divorced my nervous system from the sensation of exertion. Every time I checked my pulse I was shocked to find it over 160. Definitely over my comfort zone for 6 months pregnant but I felt somehow blind and deaf to my own efforts. An effective technique for getting people to work harder though probably not ideal for the pregnant woman. The enthusiastic instructor with the booming voice who said things like "Climb this hill for 10 seconds more... 10... 9... 8... 7... 6... 5... 4... 3... 3.... 3.... 3... 2... 2... 2... etc. etc" and the quasi-tribal yells just did nothing for me. I can see how it create a groove for a good work-out but after too many years of being yelled at by and trying to respond to many an over zealous coach I have reached the point where I self-motivate. It`s always nice to have people cheering for me at races or maybe the occasional work-out but generally I am either working as hard as I can or should be and yelling has no no discernible impact on the outcome. I guess I am not meant for fitness classes.

So definitely an amazing treat. Truly a work-out in the lap of luxury. La cocotte seemed to have a good time in the daycare. She had a whale of a time on the track afterwards (255 m in 2:45... (PPC did NOT time her daughter's lap around the track did she??? Oh yes,she did!) and an even better time in the swimming pool. Inspired by the sight of my friend's 1 year old cheerfully dunking her head under water, la cocotte was willing to go "en dessous l'eau" for the first time ever and even asked repeatedly for "encore... encore" afterwards - a real breakthrough. As I say, the whole experience was a real treat... how can one not love a gym with a 255 m banked indoor track?? The surprisingly affordable daycare makes working out possible for harried parents which is fabulous. However, even with the daycare convenience and without the presumably steep price tag, I will still take the gravel trail on Mount Royal, the sound of my increasingly heavy footsteps and ragged breathing and my scratchy towels after a quick, piss poor shower at work over the Sa.nct.uary any day.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

My stew fest

Yes, I am still stewing... I guess that's an improvement over steaming. Fast Bastard asked for an update on the slap-in-the-face situation which I hadn't really planned on blogging any more about. Any meaningful update takes me into territory that is over the boundary of things I am willing to blog about. Leaving out details becomes so abstract that it is uninteresting and impossible to follow (yes, I know, uninteresting and impossible to follow is kind of par for the course on my blog).

So here is what I can offer. Since la incident, I have spent one night awake crying, one night awake wondering if what X said was true and a few days as a walking sleep-deprived zombie. Then I called Mother Risk to ask about the safety of diphen.hydra.mine during pregnancy (the active ingredient in most over the counter sleeping pills) and found out that unlike almost all other drugs, it has actually been extremely well studied during pregnancy and approved for use. So I bought myself some Sle.ep-ez.e and got two excellent nights of sleep. So I guess the update there is that I am literally no longer losing sleep over the incident but only thanks to modern chemistry not to any kind of closure.

I did tell X what I heard. X apologized. I told X that there was no need to apologize for feeling that I am [insult omitted]. Heck, if that's how X feels, it's how X feels. It hurts like hell but I have to accept that those are the feelings. I have the responsibility to figure out what part of  [insult omitted] is really true of me and what part comes from X and the filter through which X sees the world. I need to change what I decide I can and should and let the rest of it go.

However I did also tell X is that I found it completely reprehensible that these feelings were shared with another person in my life with whom I am close and have an excellent relationship and whom, as far as I know, enjoys a mutual high regard with me (this was the person in the room X was talking to I alluded to last time). That part was pretty shitty. Well the whole thing was shitty but as I keep saying I can't blame X for feeling these feelings (though I am hurt and confused by it) but I certainly do blame X for back-stabbing me.

Blah blah blah... just writing about this is making me tired. I am ready to move onto something else, stop being a drama queen, get some real sleep. Perhaps instead of taking more, I`ll just go re-read some of my blog, that oughta do it.

That be my update.
This be me moving on.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My slap in the face

Emotional pain is when someone close and important in your life leaves you a voicemail, "hangs up", only they don't hang up completely... they continue to talk to someone in the room. About you. Saying gut-wrenchingly, ugly things.

EMBARASSMENT is... when the above happens AT WORK causing you to BURST INTO TEARS at your desk and then have to return each and every one your colleagues cheery "Good Mornings" as they file past your desk one by one.

HUMILIATION is when trembling, flustered fingers cause you to FORWARD it to a distribution group that goes to 8 people while you are trying to delete it.

I wish I was one of those self possessed people who could just laugh it off and say "oh X is a critical person who finds fault with everyone." but because I am me, I have to evaluate every statement for the truth and because I am me and so freakin eager to always find fault in myself, I find myself agreeing.

Sometimes I really have a really low opinion of myself. And after today, I know X does also.