Favorite Things : May 25 – 31, 2019

favorite things, pregnancy

Contains Amazon affiliate links. 

This will be my last post for the next few weeks. After my ante-natal appointment yesterday, I was told I probably would not go beyond this weekend, but if I did to show up Monday morning bright and early to be induced. It is strange to think that there is an actual end in sight. In fact — it made everything seem so much less abstract. We came home and I immediately started cleaning. Must be prepared! Constant vigilance!

This week will mainly involve waiting. I do not think I will be able to finish the Harry Potter series as I had planned, but I should be able to finish Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I started Emily Oster’s book Cribsheet this week — so hopefully I can get through some of that to “prepare myself.”

I’m hoping to pop in to check-in in about two weeks! Until then, here are this week’s favorite things:

Cities are not the only location where innovation happens — turns out most of it is in rural areas.

30 lessons of 30 years.

I always feel terrible when I travel. Here are nine tips that can help.

Modern Mrs. Darcy on the writing process.

As someone who wants to do all the things (run, cycle, swim, lift, etc.), I like the idea of being a generalist in sport.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the early weeks of June!

 

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Memorial Day Murph at 39 Weeks Pregnant

crossfit, pregnancy

Last year I wrote a “race report” for my first Memorial Day Murph. At that point, I had only been doing CrossFit for less than a month. It was heavily modified with ring-rows and knee push-ups, but I finished and I was proud. I thought I would share a report from this year’s Murph — still heavily modified, because I am heavily pregnant. I am 39 weeks along — waiting any day (any second, really) for this baby to show up.

So what is Murph? RX’d it is 1 mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats, and another 1 mile run all done while wearing a weighted vest. Now, even under the best of circumstances, I would not be able to do this work-out RX’d. Last year, it left me completely drained and I could not walk right (from all those squats!) for at least a day or two.

Now I cannot walk right because of the baby. I was not planning on doing Murph at all. But all I have been doing is waiting for the baby. I felt like I had no events or any goals coming on to focus on and this has led to quite a bit of impatience on my part. Plus, I was starting to develop some serious fear of missing out and a little bit of a desire to give myself a nice pat on the back — look at me 39 weeks along, doing the Murph! (Humility is something I should work on.)

I mentioned wanting to do the Murph with another pregnant nooner. She asked if I would want to split it and do a partner wod — team Prego. We talked to our coach, who was encouraging. We signed up for the 10am heat. Here’s the thing, I knew I probably could do the whole work-out if I scaled it (ring rows, wall push-ups, etc), but it was more a question of should. I think doing half ended up being the better choice. I felt tired afterwards, but not drained.

Here’s how we did it — we walked 800m and split 20 rounds of 5 ring rows, 10 wall push-ups, and 15 squats between the two of us and finished with an 800m walk. I can honestly say that last 800m was super slow on my part. After each round, one of us would catch our breath while the other did a round. It ended up being a good plan, because I never felt winded or exhausted. I never had that “so much left to go, will I ever be done?” feeling.

murph2019no6

Murph2019no5

It ended up being a lot of fun. I got a good work out in, but was able to cheer for my partner and other members of my heat. I still felt impressed with my body, especially the fact that I could manage to do 150 squats a week before my due date. I thought I would feel jealous of everyone doing the full thing, but I ended up feeling just fine with the amount I did. Plus, I figured I still was wearing my own version of a weight vest!

murph2019no4

One thing I was hoping, which did not happen, was that doing half Murph would help encourage baby to make his or her appearance. A lot of people from my gym joked that I would have to name the baby “Murph” if a boy. I joked that I was trying to create an inhospitable environment in order to encourage baby to leave. It is Wednesday. Still no baby!

Did you do the Murph this year? How did it go?

 

A Quiet Saturday

daily life, motherhood, pregnancy

Contains Amazon affiliate links. 

I suppose, being 38 weeks pregnant, I do not have many quiet Saturdays left. I have had low-grade impatience for the baby to arrive beginning this month, but this past weekend I had a nice reminder to enjoy this time of waiting.

I think it began with the fact I actually had a good night’s sleep. Thank goodness, for Benadryl. I did not wake up once and woke up at around 6:30ish in the morning — which is late for me. Planning on going to my small group meeting in the morning, I read the Gospel for the week and some Harry Potter (what else, ha!) before eating breakfast, hopping in the shower, and heading to the church for my meeting. After my small group, I sat at the church for Eucharistic adoration for about an hour, reading Francis de Sales’ Introduction to the Devout Life.

I walked to Jilly Beans’ Coffee Shop and bought a coffee and cinnamon roll. I sat by myself and just read for about an hour or so. I’m not the type of person to let little moments pass me by and I’m grateful. While reading, I realized that very soon not every Saturday morning would be able to look as calm or peaceful. Even without a baby, not every Saturday goes according to plan. I think I very easily get sucked down the social media/internet rabbit hole and before you know it, I’ve had three cups of coffee and while I’ve been scrolling like crazy, I feel tired, stressed, and frankly meaningless.

Bruno picked me up and we had a quick lunch at home before going on a two mile walk. I hoped I would go into labor. I did not go into labor. Instead, my feet and what is left of my ankles swelled up like melons. I can barely fit in my shoes. It was hot out, so we joked we were training for living in Texas. The next several hours were spent sitting on our front porch reading. After that — we ate dinner and watched some HBO, before an early bed time of around 9ish.

It really does not seem like much. Dinner was left overs. We watched Chernobyl which was probably not the best choice for right before bed. Most of my reading was for work (though very enjoyable — I highly recommend) — I read Paul Johnson’s A History of the American People. Walking two miles is not an impressive work out and a far cry from my Saturday long runs (how I miss thee!). On the surface, the day does not seem special at all.

But, even though I’m impatient for baby, I’m grateful for these last few quiet Saturdays. I’m grateful for these last few walks with just Bruno and myself. Even as the the weeks until baby’s arrival turn into days, I’m going to take advantage that the quiet time I have: read more, write more, walk more and enjoy the calm, not before the storm, but before the creation of a new normal, with new Saturday routines, and a brand new person in the mix.

Thoughts on Laura Vanderkam’s 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think

books, goals, motherhood, pregnancy, running

Contains Amazon affiliate links. 


I re-read Laura Vanderkam’s 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think this week. I read it a few years ago, liked it, and of course, never implemented anything from the book. I never kept a time log, but I did like her approach to time management. Sometimes I just like to read these books for the inspiration and motivation.

This time around I think it was better for me. I’m not keeping a time log because I know life is about to be drastically different in the next few weeks or so, but because it was a good reminder that I can still have personal goals and ambition post-baby. Women do it all the time – she has the time logs (ha!) to prove it.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately as I move toward the end of my 36th week of pregnancy. As someone put it, “Baby can come any day now.” Yet – I frequently have people tell me all I can say good-bye to sleep, eating, working-out, reading, any sort of leisure time at all, and lastly my sanity. I’m sure that I am about to achieve a real shock to my system, but are these things true?

I appreciate Vanderkam’s answer to that question: no. I’ll admit, I’m very excited to be a mother, but not at the expense of giving up my entire self. One of my big post-baby goals is to train for a trail 50k. I suspect training for that will not happen until 2020, but I’m thinking about it, planning for it. Is this naive because I have no idea how motherhood will take up my time? Is this a completely selfish goal? Or, with a lot of planning, self-disciplining, and my new Bob stroller is this goal doable? I think the answer is yes to the latter. I hope it is.

Anyway — these are questions I’m thinking about right now. I suspect I will return to Vanderkam’s book again as I recover post-pregnancy and begin the new job. I hope to pick up I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time and have been scanning through her blog archives all week, happy to have hope that having a family and personal goals (or even work) goals do not have to be separate or even contradictory. As Jennifer Fulwiler puts it, it really can be One Beautiful Dream.

April 2019 Goals : How Did It Go?

crossfit, goals, Harry Potter, reading, year of 1% better

If you’re new here, I declared 2019 the Year of 1% Better. Here’s a list of all previous goal posts.

January: Goals | Outcomes

February: Goals | Outcomes

March: Goals | Outcomes

April : Goals

I cannot believe April is over already. This is the first month where I mostly accomplished everything I wanted. Plus, I feel almost fully recovered from finishing up my dissertation. I think I finally actually relaxed and if you couldn’t tell from yesterday’s post, did plenty of reading.

I managed to be fairly consistent in non-dissertation writing — both on the blog, but also in my goal to keep a notebook a la Natalie Goldberg-style. I found an old one-subject seventy sheet notebook, figuring there was no need for anything special. After my usual morning routine, before I write the day’s blog post, I set the timer at ten minutes and write. I was not able to finish a notebook this way, but I was able to get some thoughts down. I think I only missed a handful of days, so I was pretty happy with the success of this goal. I’m planning on continuing it into May.

Not only did I manage to do a great deal of downsizing in the kitchen, but we have around five or six boxes of books ready to donate in the dining room. The house is looking a little more chaotic with all these to-go boxes lying around, but it is great to know that as we get closer to moving (another two and a half months — but at least a month and a half of that will feature a new baby) things will be done. The last time we moved — only a few blocks away, not cross-country — it felt like nothing was done, nothing was organized. I really do not want that to happen this time around with an infant and further to travel.

On average I ended up doing more than 2x CrossFit every week. I typically managed around three times a week, even PRing a few times. Not bad for a woman in her eighth month of pregnancy, I think! I’m hoping this is a sign of things to come for May. I may have to take it easy, but it is nice to keep showing up. I rowed almost every week and managed to finally get some walking in last week. Consistency, man.

My social media use is better, but still not what I would like it to be. I suppose this is going to be a goal I’ll keep renewing in the months (really weeks and days) to come. Some days are better than others. Some days I hardly think about it. Then the next day I find myself in a scrolling frenzy. I think reading more has helped — I reward tasks with another chapter of Harry Potter as opposed to checking instagram or facebook. It certainly is much more rewarding.

Overall, I would say things are definitely 1% better this month. I’m happy that I’ve added a new habit, gave myself some peace of mind with moving, and managed to stay consistent with my work-outs.

How did your April goals turn out?

 

 

Life in Limbo

daily life, pregnancy

One of the frequent questions I keep getting asked now that I’m done is, “How is post-dissertation life?” What is life like now that I no longer have a dissertation hanging over my head? I think it took to April to even get used to the idea that I no longer have a big project to work on. I wish I could say I was working on multiple projects, getting things done, but aside for resubmitting a journal article, my academic self has been taking a much needed break.

But, as I’m sure I have mentioned, I am not good at taking breaks. I like to find projects for myself. I like having long-term, endurance-style things to work on like my dissertation or training for a race — neither of which I can do right now. I am less than six weeks away from the baby’s due date. We’re moving to Texas around six weeks after that. Two weeks after that we start our jobs. Basically, all I really think I am doing is waiting for whatever happens next.

And, as Tom Petty once wisely sang, “The waiting is the hardest part.” I’m a type-A planner, but how do you plan with the next big thing when you have no idea what the next big thing will actually look like? As much as I can “plan” for the baby and the massive life-changes created by being a parent and a full-time job, I really have no idea what it will be like, so I feel stuck in a kind of limbo.

March was kind of a “lost month,” but here is how I am trying to handle all the unknowns right now.

Administrative projects. So no big academic projects, but I am trying to do a lot of things for “future Ali.” Currently, I have been spending quality time with the scanner. I have around three boxes of class notes to go through. Because they are all in notebook paper, I can’t do it quickly, but have to do one side at a time. It is dull work, but I know that come mid-July I’ll be glad to have three less boxes to pack and having all my notes and papers digitized in my Dropbox and Evernote should surely be the gift that keeps on giving. I’m doing the same with downsizing my kitchen, clothes, and books. What will I be really happy that come July I  don’t have to do?

Taking advantage of not having a real schedule. I have not woke up to an alarm since February. I have been sleeping until 7-7:30am most mornings. For an early riser – sometimes between 4-5:00am – this has been some consistent sleeping in for me. Mornings are incredibly slow as I try to do some reading and actually take the time to clean the kitchen post-breakfast. I have had plenty of mornings recently where I have been in my pj’s sitting on the couch with a book until CrossFit at noon. I feel lazy, but I am trying to enjoy that I can do this while I can.

Move. I don’t mean preparing to move, but I mean not being sedentary. This one is not that hard, because I typically look forward to going to CrossFit. But as I get bigger and grow more uncomfortable, my enthusiasm levels tend to waver. For example — just today I had a very “what’s the point? I don’t have any big goals, so why even bother” moment. These last few weeks are a reminder that showing up is the goal, even if I cannot PR or go fast or feel like a walrus half the time. It may not seem to make a difference now, but after baby, after recovery, I’ll be glad I put in this time. Improvements are being made even if I cannot tell right now.

And that is basically it. Without a big project, I feel kind of aimless, but if I look at this as a time of preparation, it feels much better. It makes the waiting not only bearable, but enjoyable. I keep trying to remind myself that when I’m busy with baby and teaching, I’ll be really glad I was able to enjoy this mental break.

Have you ever had a “limbo” period in life? How did you handle it? Are you someone who prefers to have big projects and busy days?

 

 

 

 

Tips and Tricks for Working Out During Pregnancy

pregnancy, training

Shameless plug alert!

I have an article on Evie Magazine published this week called Tips and Tricks for Working Out During Pregnancy. With a little over ten weeks to go, I have been thinking a lot about what has been working and what has not been working for me as I continue to be active. Please do check it out!

Twenty-Two Weeks Update

crossfit, daily life, pregnancy, running

As I mentioned yesterday, we went in for our twenty week ultrasound. Our sonographer said everything looked good, but we’ll learn more next week during our regular appointment. While the best part was being told everything looked good (relief), the second best was being told that baby was measuring bigger than they expected. Instead of being due early June, I’m due late May. While I am not sure it makes a difference, it is kind of nice to know things are moving along. It all still feels so far away, but as I told Bruno when we got home, technically if the new due date is right, we only have three full months (February, March, April) sans-baby left. Not only that, but I’ll be walking for my doctoral graduation exactly two weeks before I am due. That might be a long ceremony.

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But how is it going? I mentioned last week I was dealing with pelvic pain and yesterday that I think I did something to my ankle — probably due to the change in ligaments (I’m falling apart). But aside from that, what is going on?

I keep waking up at 3 in the morning. At least two to three times a week, I am up at three. I have determined it is better to just roll with it instead of fighting it in bed. So, I wake up, do my morning thing. I’m lucky to have a flexible schedule, so I can take a nap later if need be, but I actually try really hard not to so I can still get to bed at nine if I can.

Nightmares. The waking up at 3 is not so bad. It just means more quiet time in the morning and I’m more tired. What is not so fun are the nightmares. Sometimes I do not even know what I dreamt about, but just that it was not good. I get that it is hormones, but I look forward to these stopping whenever they do.

Iron-hard immune system. When Bruno was sick with the flu the other week, I was nervous I would end up getting it too. After all, we live and sleep in close proximity. I figured it was only a matter of time. I braced myself, but never got it. I’ve always had a freakishly good immune system (I get sick — but from migraines and apparently beets and spinach), but this might be one of the more impressive times the system has shown me it won’t let me down.

The nesting has begun. Though Marie Kondo is a little too woo-woo for me (though I might read her book to learn how to fold socks ha!), for the first time in awhile our house is clean. Not immaculate, but clutter is starting to disappear, a rhythm for the days I clean certain things has begun to emerge (today is laundry day), and yes, I’m throwing things out. Of course, I am. It has shown up in other ways too. Though one of our goals was to not eat out in January (unless it is for social event — which has so far only happened twice), I think the urge to cook is probably related to the nesting urge. I like cooking, but making my own yogurt? Definitely a little different.

Running has diminished/strength has improved. One of the interesting things about being pregnant is how differently it affects my running and how differently is has affected my weight-lifting at CrossFit. I had about ten good weeks of running and then boom, slower, painful, and more walking. However, anytime I have lifted weights, I have either been consistent or improved. I have PR’ed both my back-squat and my shoulder press during my second trimester, not to mention a few other movements (although this is a change from maybe the barbell to putting weights on…still a big deal for me). It probably helps that strength-wise I am starting from nothing, so I do not know if it would be the same if I had been doing crossfit for years. But — it does feel good and I cannot help but be impressed with my body. Like holy cow, I am making a baby and pushing seventy pounds over my head. Crazy.

Overall, I’d say things are going well. Like I have mentioned, patience has been key. I want to type-A and do all the things, but physically, especially with running, I have to take a step back. I have to be patient on the days I wake up at three and be ok with the fact that probably after lunch, not a thing will get done because I will be so tired. I can confirm that at least for myself everything I read about the second trimester being better than the first is absolutely true.

 

So What is Good?

crossfit, daily life, dissertation, pregnancy, running

After yesterday’s whine, I must admit I am feeling much better today. Not physically (I’m still in pain), but mentally. I also did not wake up at 2 am, but at 5:30 today — the difference between five hours of sleep vs. eight hours!

So here is what’s good:

I sent my final dissertation chapter to my committee yesterday.  All had read it before, but this was the official and final version. I wrote a conclusion today. All that is left is to make sure formatting and citations are in order and I can officially submit my dissertation.

It is looking like I will defend before I turn 29. Age is arbitrary, but when one of my options was to have my defense on February 4th (my birthday is the next day) as opposed to dates later in the month, I took it. Ph.D. before thirty here I come!

I received a revise and resubmit from a peer-reviewed academic journal. After two rejections, this one felt good! I read through the comments and they look interesting and useful. I will probably not work on it until I’m officially all done with the dissertation — one thing at a time, people! — but I am hoping to get my edits and changes in by the end of February. If it gets accepted, it will be my first academic publication (not a small deal). Huzzah!

Credit at the chiropractor’s office. I will not see my chiropractor until Friday afternoon (get here soon, please!). However, all my visits are financial-guilt free. Years ago, back when I was on my mom’s insurance (thanks Obama!), all my visits were covered, yet I still paid out of pocket for them. Then they would credit me for my next visit, etc. I don’t know, it got confusing, but I still went all the time. I am a real bone-crackin’ believer. Anyway I did not go for several years. Turns out I had a several hundred dollar credit. It is like a gift from past me to future me. Like “Hey future self, you’ll be pregnant, probably in pain, and trying to save in a few years. This is for you.”

Taking a walk outside. Today I did some walking and about a mile and a half of running outside, totaling around three miles. I do not care about the cold. It feels so good to be outside. Yes, I feel stiff and sore and running does not feel lovely, but not being indoors, not being on the treadmill is its own gift. I listened to my dissertation-writing playlist and generally felt joyful.

So yeah, my running is declining. I landed weird (like actually felt a pop) on my left foot while attempting double-unders at CrossFit today and my ankle is swollen (help me ice and ace bandage!). My pelvis hurts. Physically I feel like a mess, but I’m grateful. I’m grateful to just be moving. I’m grateful that I managed twenty-five double-unders today during the work-out which is twenty-five more than the last work-out where I attempted to do them. I’m grateful that today was spent writing and not editing.

So, there you go. That’s what’s good.

What I’ve Been Eating Lately

food, pregnancy

First, a disclaimer: I am not at all what you would describe as a “healthy eater.” I follow no prescribed diet. I still eat white flour and sugar. I would like to be better, but in the past couple of months nothing has sounded good to me to eat except for McDonald’s, Ben and Jerry’s, and Mexican food. I’ve felt good enough in the past couple of weeks to start to avoid those things again, but I am still having days where I’m just like “nope, need a fried chicken sandwich.” I’m not proud, but that is where I’m at right now. It is also probably why I gained more than the recommended amount in my first trimester. I’m trying not to care, because I am active, but still I care. I can’t help it.

This past week Sunday, I told Bruno that my big goal was to not go out to eat or get fast food for the next two weeks. I told him I did not care how bad the food I was making at home was (bad for you), but I wanted to do whatever it took just to prevent myself from ordering a pizza or eating Ben and Jerry’s from dinner. I figured even if everything I ate was smothered in cheese, even if I ate Eckrich farm sausage (I know it is disgusting and really bad for you, but it tastes so damn good), as long as I was not eating out that was good enough for me. It is Thursday, so, so far, so good. But the weekend is coming.

Anyway — here is a little bit of what I’ve been eating the past few weeks, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

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I’ve been craving buffalo sauce on everything, so I figured I would give this buffalo chicken casserole a try. It was good, but almost too much tomato, not enough buffalo. Also, for whatever reason quinoa has not tasted good to me at all. I blame pregnancy, not the recipe.

breakfast

Here’s a standard breakfast – kale, coconut, yogurt smoothie (from the Eat Slow, Run Fast cookbook), with homemade banana bread with butter and coffee. Frankly, this has not been enough. Within two hours, I am starving. Breakfast is something I need to figure out.

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This soup was a big hit in our house. The only thing I think I would change is I would not cook the noodles in the soup and add them later (making it no longer a one-pot meal, but still pretty easy). The surplus of leftovers was amazing and delicious, but the noodles were so soggy by the end. Still. I will make this again.

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Another breakfast: yogurt smothered with granola and maple syrup.

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When Bruno cooks: ground beef, veggies, and potatoes. Nuun water on the side. I’m having a hard time with ground beef still. I used to love it, as in, I love cheeseburgers especially with bacon. This has been one of our throw together meals for a long time.

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Sausage, kale, sweet potato, and ricotta cheese. I threw this together after grocery shopping on Sunday. It was delicious. Probably not the best for you (hello sodium and sulfites), but still delicious. I love sausage, but I cannot find any “healthy” brands from our local Kroger, or maybe I’m just not aware of it. I would like to think the kale made up for it. Ha!

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Lunch this week — bbq chicken made with Montgomery Inn bbq sauce (because, Ohio!), salad with all the good veggies and all the bad salad dressing (see above about trying really hard to not go out to eat), and homemade sour dough bread with butter.

Not pictured: pizza from a local pizza place, Ruben sandwich from a local restaurant, buffalo chicken sandwich from a local pizza place, McDonald’s fried chicken sandwich, fries, and holiday pie (what is this deliciousness?), and pizza from another local pizza establishment.

I’m trying, people. Trying. And don’t give me that Yoda stuff, I’m pregnant.

xo, Ali