Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving, walking, squirrels, etc

While on our multi-state Thanksgiving Tour, Will decided to start walking on his own.  For several months now, he's walked if he's holding onto something or pushing something (ie, he pushes around our kitchen chairs and baskets of laundry), but so far he'd remained too chicken to strike out on his own (despite much coaxing).  Well, he finally did it.  Rob got  a video of his very first steps:

Will has been hesitant to walk again after his initial successful foray, but I figure he will be walking more and more as the days go on.  And I'm glad to know, at least, that he actually can do it.

The other issue of excitement in our house is that we've had squirrels in our attic, and we*  finally caught one of them.  Rob set up a "Havaheart" live trap and baited it with whole wheat bread and organic peanut butter.  After a few near misses, one of the squirrels got trapped in there today.  Rob placed the trap in a rubbermaid tub, and we took the thing to a very lovely park several miles from our house.  Hopefully the squirrel decides to stay in the park, because if it tries to head back to our place, it will probably not survive such a long trip through heavy traffic.  Now all that remains is to catch the other squirrel and patch up the holes where they are getting in.  Hm.

Well, there is so much more to say, but I am still carsick from our Thanksgiving adventure.  And that's not helping me get over my hypermesis flashbacks.  Also, I am exhausted and not ready to head back to work tomorrow.  It is going to be insane from here on out to the end of the semester.  Ugh, feels like mile 20.


*And by we I actually mean Rob

Friday, November 12, 2010

Dear William (15 months)

Dear William,

Today you are 15 months old.  You have really grown up fast in the last month.  So many changes!

The biggest thing that happened is that you started talking!  Grandma Nan and Paw Paw were visiting in the middle of October, and one morning at breakfast, you threw your cheerios on the floor and said Uh oh.  I was upstairs getting ready for work and missed the whole thing.  I was a little bit sad, but you said it again and again to cheer me up.  You have said a lot of words since then.  Let's see if I can remember some of them: Mama, Dada, Nigh-Nigh, Baby, and No.  Lately you have been raising your arms up over your head and saying whoa or yay!  I think you've also said "Mo" (your daycare teacher's name) and hi.  You chatter constantly.  You say "uh oh" first thing when you wake up in the morning.  Once when you were sleeping in bed with us, you snuggled up against me and whispered "uh oh" in your sleep.  You are great.


You also started doing sign language this month.  I guess this is something you learned at daycare.  They taught you the sign for "more."  You use it from time to time, but you don't know what it means.  You just think it is fun.  I'm trying to teach you the sign for "please," but so far, you just give me a perplexed look.

You learned how to go up and down the stairs all by yourself.  You are so cute.  Going up and down the stairs is your favorite game.  At night when it is bath time, you are so cute leading the way up the stairs for us.  When you are going down the stairs, you go backwards, one at a time.  You figured out how to do that on your own, nobody showed you.

Showing Grandpa how it's done


You are still a problematic eater.  At every meal, I pretty much have to get out every kind of food that we have in hopes that I can find something you'll eat.  And just because you've eaten something one day does not mean you will ever want it again.  The exception to this is breakfast-- your favorite breakfast for the past couple of months has been a waffle and a banana.  That's the one thing I know you will always eat.  Sometimes you are so hungry that you eat 2 waffles and a banana.  Breakfast is your favorite meal, and I love that about you (because breakfast is my favorite meal too).  You are getting better about holding your food (say, a waffle or sandwich) and taking little bites out of it.  Before, I would have to break it into little pieces or else you would try to cram the whole thing in your mouth.  You are also becoming interested in feeding yourself with a spoon.  You've taken a renewed interest in applesauce, I think specifically because you like to practice feeding yourself.  The other day, you did the cutest thing I have ever seen in my entire life.  You were romping around the family room and started rifling through your diaper bag (one of your favorite things to do).  You found a small container of applesauce and a spoon that I had packed in case you needed a snack while we were out.  You started tapping the spoon on top of the applesauce container and then touching the spoon to your lips.  It was so darling.  I opened the applesauce container and tried to get you to feed yourself, but instead you hurled the spoon across the room and plunged your hand into the applesauce.  I think that's where the cuteness of the whole episode broke down a little bit.

You got your 2 top molars this month, that was an ordeal.  You're working on one of your bottom ones right now.

Show the teeth

You got  a haircut when your Grandma Nan was visiting.  You look so grown up.

You walk if you are holding onto something or if you are holding one of our hands.  You also walk if you are pushing something.  At daycare you walk around with a toy cart.  We don't have a cart at home, but you will push around  a kitchen chair instead.  You have also been known to push around a basket of laundry.  It is kind of hilarious.

We had Halloween this month.  You were in a parade at daycare.  You went as a rock star.  I gave you a green mohawk and you looked real cool.  We didn't go trick or treating on Halloween night though.  Maybe next year.


Ay oh let's go


William, you have become this wonderful little fun-loving person.  You just love to play and play and giggle and laugh and have a great time.  You love anything that involves your body being turned upside down and rotated or spun.  You love giving hugs.  That is my favorite thing in the world, when you come over to me and grin and give me a hug.  You give the best hugs.  I could hug you forever.

Love always,


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Indianapolis marathon

First.  It has been a long time since I had the chance to write a blog post.  To update in a nutshell:  1) I do not know if I had mastitis or not, but it went away with a lot of nursing, hot showers, and tylenol to keep my fever down.  2) Thank you to the people who provided midwife suggestions in the comments on my last blog post.  I've done a lot of investigating since I last wrote, and aside from the one midwife that someone suggested, there are apparently no other midwives in St. Louis.  Not even Certified Nurse Midwives.  The tough anti-midwifery laws (that were only repealed in 2008) have left their mark on this state.  If you are a midwife, please come to Missouri.  We need you.

Now, cutting to the chase.  The whole family went to Indianapolis over weekend, and I ran the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon.  It was my 10th marathon overall, and my second one since giving birth to William.  I ran Indianapolis in 2008 and had a major PR that day-- 3:37:49.  Things are a bit different now!  Not only do I have a little child to take care of, but throughout the course of this training, we moved to Missouri and I started working full time.  I've managed to do all of the long runs on the weekends, but since we moved to St. Louis, I have barely been able to run during the week.  In fact, I have never, ever trained so poorly or done so little preparation for a marathon.  I'm not even sure if I hit 40 miles/week during peak training.  I messed up the timing and did my one and only 20-miler 4 weeks out instead of 3-weeks out.  For two of my long runs (a 15 miler in July and a recent 18 miler), I ran through fever and mastitis.

On Friday night before the marathon, we stayed with the MeyPfans.  It was great to catch up with the MeyPfan clan, and William loved hanging out with Bryn, Shay, and Liam (and playing with all their toys).  Will stayed up way past his bedtime.  It was kind of difficult to get him settled down for the night, and once we finally did, he did this sleep-cry thing, wherein he fitfully tossed and turned and would utter a small wail in his sleep about every 20 minutes or so.  He tends to do this when he is either sleeping in a different place or teething (or in this case, both).  I finally brought him to bed with me, where he romped around and cried for a while, and then eventually passed out with his head on my neck (one of his favorite sleeping positions) where he snored loudly.  I do not think I slept at all the whole night long.

On Saturday, we got up at an ungodly early hour to head downtown, where I still needed to pick up my packet.  It was ridiculously cold out. I vowed I would never run a marathon in November again.

During the first mile, I forced myself to keep it in check and run very nice and easy.  I got to the Mile 1 marker in exactly 10:00, I thought, geez, maybe I have taken it too slow.  So I picked it up to about 9:00 minute pace and stayed there for a while.  Around mile 5 I caught up with the 4-hour pace group and thought I would stay with them.  I've never run with a pace group before, so I thought it might be fun.  Four hours hadn't been my goal.  I actually didn't even have a goal, other than finishing.

It turns out that I did not like running with a pace group.  There were a lot of runners in that group and I actually found it really hard to maneuver, especially at water stops.  We were all running so close together that people were clipping my heels or bumping my elbows from time to time.  I don't know, everybody else seemed to be having fun, so that's great.  I just found myself getting claustrophobic.  Plus, a lot of people in that group were all teched out-- meaning, lots of GPS units, heart rate monitors, etc., and there seemed to be a constant stream of buzzing/beeping from dozens of peoples units.  I've got nothing against units-- I've run with various units in the past (though nothing that beeped).  This time, either because I didn't care or was unprepared, I was old-schooling it with just my ancient Ironman watch (the same one I had with me for a year out in the forest in Nicaragua).

Even though I had told myself not to get cocky and pass the 4 hour pace group, I passed them within a few miles and felt a lot better to have more space.  I stayed right off the front of the pace group, running right around 9:06 pace for many miles.  My cheering squad was at Mile 11-- Rob, Will, and Rob's parents.  I veered off the course just slightly so that I could kiss Will (all bundled up in his snowsuit).  He had a little bit of snot on his face, but I didn't care.  He smiled, and that was great.

Melissa @ mile 11

My ugliest marathon to date: red shirt, orange gloves, maroon headband, pink on my shoes. And what is up with my face in this picture? It looks like I just got my wisdom teeth removed or something.

I was still feeling pretty good at this time, but my stomach was kind of weird and I couldn't really eat or drink gatorade at the water stops.  I knew that this was a bad sign.  The only thing I could sort of choke down was Sharkies, so as I ran past the family, I asked Rob if he had brought any more of those with him.  He had.  I kept running and Rob caught up with me in a little bit to hand off the Sharkies.

Mile 14 kind of looped back around where Mile 11 had been, so I got to see the family again.  William was still smiling in his snowsuit.  Rob jumped in and ran with me for maybe a quarter mile.  I gave him my gloves when he broke away this time.  My fingers were freezing and I didn't really want to run bare-handed, but gloves seemed to be making it worse.  Whenever I'd grab water from one of the aid stations, water would slosh out of the cup and get all over my gloves.  No gloves seemed better than cold, wet gloves, though neither was ideal.

The crazies started to creep in around Mile 18.  I couldn't even eat Sharkies at this point, and gatorade was out of the question.  Nothing sweet.  I ate some pretzels, but I didn't enjoy them.  I could hear the 4-hour pace group behind me and I thought, just keep them from passing you until mile 20.  I was feeling worse and worse but still managing to maintain pace.  If my fingers would not have been so frozen, I think I would have fished out my cell phone to call my mom and have her read me the paper or something, just to give me something to focus on.

I saw Rob again at mile 22.  He was on his bike, alone this time.  The family had taken William indoors.  Rob rode alongside me, saying encouraging things.  I couldn't say much back because I didn't feel good.  I kept reminding myself that this is not as hard as giving birth.  Instead of giving in to that terrifying abyss of craziness, I tried to think things like "This isn't so bad."

My pace dropped.  I ran a 9:40.  Rob was still riding alongside me.  "The 4-hour pace group is going to catch me," I said.  He kept telling me that I was doing great.  He said that just up ahead there was a woman from our running club in Urbana.  I really do not know her very well, but I have talked to her a couple of times.  She is some kind of phenomenal ultra-runner; in fact, I couldn't even believe that she was doing a road marathon and that she was doing it at roughly my pace.  Rob told me that I could catch her.  I really doubted that I could, but I figured, why not give it a try.  What's the worst that could happen?  I kept my eye on her, and my next mile was a 9:30.  I could tell I was getting closer.  My next mile was 9:06.  And the 4-hour pace group still hadn't caught me!  I was getting closer and closer.  I didn't care whether or not I finished in 4 hours, I just focused on catching up to Tracy.

It was hard, oh my god, it was hard.  I dug deeper than I thought possible.  Rob stayed nearby on his bike, saying something encouraging to me every little bit.  Finally, I think about mile 25, I caught up to Tracy.  When I got there, I realized she was running with another woman from the club too, Kelly.  I hadn't recognized her in a stocking cap.  It was great to catch up to the two of them, but I couldn't mince words.  It was taking every ounce of my being to keep going at this pace.

And there was mile 26.  I rounded the corner and gave it everything I got, into the finishing straight.  3:59:49.  Under 4 hours by a nose.  Over 20 minutes slower than the last time I ran it, but who cares.  It wasn't the fastest marathon I've ever run, but this was by far, the gutsiest.  I had no idea I had it in me, to dig that deep for really, no apparent reason.  But I really gave it my everything, left with absolutely nothing in the tank.

I shuffled through the finishing zone, completely repulsed by all the food.  Somebody handed me a water bottle, so I took that, but really, all I wanted was to get to Rob and get the heck out of there.

By the time we got back to our car, I was freezing, and I couldn't stop shaking.  My teeth were chattering so loudly that I couldn't talk.  We went back to Rob's aunt and uncle's house, and I really was not in the mood to make small talk or pleasantries; my lips were blue, and I was feeling awful.  I took a shower and tried to convince myself that it made me feel better.  I sat on the couch and watched Will romp around.  The world was spinning though, and I felt all kinds of nauseous.  Like, oh my god I'm having a flashback to hyperemesis kind of nauseous.  I realized that I hadn't even drank anything since I crossed the finish line, so I tried to take little sips of water.

I kept feeling worse and worse and was finally like, okay people, I need to go.  The strangest thing was, even though all other food seemed repugnant, the one thing I wanted was a vegan chili cheese dog-- a weird thing I had eaten at some vegan restauarant with Rob and one of his cousins in Chicago years ago.  When I told Rob that a vegan chili cheese dog was what I wanted to eat, he looked a little pale, like, how on earth am I going to find this?  We piled into the car and drove to a Whole Foods, which I swear was about a half hour away.  I couldn't even get out of the car when we got there, so I stayed with Will while Rob went in and foraged for my survival.  He came back out with a gigantic container of vegan chili.  And I thought, of course! I always eat vegetarian chili after a marathon.

By this point I felt even more terrible, and eating was the last, absolute last thing I could fathom doing.  Which is strange, you know, because I can pretty much always eat.  I gingerly took a spoonful of the chili broth and it stayed down.  Waited a couple minutes and took another spoonful.  I couldn't eat any of the beans or tomatoes or peppers.  Just the broth.  And just one spoonful at a time.  It was slow going, and a time or two I really thought it was going to come back up.  But eventually, I started to come back to life.  I could speak again.  I could eat a couple spoonfuls at a time, with some of the beans.  At last I was feeling much better.

We visited Aimee and Brett and the kids for a while, and I had perked up enough to have a good time.  The car ride back to St. Louis was long and somewhat miserable, but we made it.  My next marathon-- Marathon #11-- will probably be the St. Louis Marathon this April.  Logistically, it will be much easier (right in my own town!), and this time, I think I will not wait for 3 hours after I finish to eat or drink anything.

Thanks for reading!