There have been several things that have changed in the wake of Operation Offspring 2.0. Not the least of which is what running looks like now. Gone (for now) are the days of willy nilly daily 10 milers, trails runs, weekend meandering long runs in excess of 30 miles, running together, sleeping in, etc. Now, running looks more like getting in one mile at a minimum in order to keep it kosher, "long runs" of 5-10 miles on the weekends, road running, a lot of solo runs or running with a sleeping toddler in the stroller, running to/from daycare to get it all in, running in 'shifts' so that the kids are managed and we can do a faster run sans 50 lbs of stroller and toddler or baby, no sleeping in, an area the size of a postage stamp to do foam rolling sessions post-run, etc.
But, I wouldn't trade it for the world. Not really. Of course, there are days when I feel pretty overwhelmed by it all and I definitely reminisce about the 'old days'. Who wouldn't? Anyone who says they don't is lying :) I love instilling a love of running in our kids. E is happiest running full tilt down the sidewalk, racing mommy or daddy, doing laps around the gym at school. Hopefully, A picks up the running bug as well!
Two is a huge change from one. People who make it look easy are also lying and totally losing their minds behind closed doors. Guaranteed. I don't think we are making it look easy, but just in case we are just know that it is super hard and we are hanging on by a thread most of the time :) It's a very sweet thread. A thread I am thankful to be holding onto, for multiple reasons.
I am trying to find new ways of enjoying my running and reallyreallyreally trying not to compare it to how it used to be or, worse yet, comparing myself to others (that is the *worst* thing you can do). Working on consistent running, improving endurance, improving speed, setting my sights on shorter stuff for now, improving core strength, staying injury free. Though, I am looking to do a 50k this fall, once I am done pumping.
Pumping. Now there's an interesting twist in all the fun.
Since A doesn't nurse, I have done what any insane mom would do: take on the task of exclusively pumping. It sort of just happened. I remember finally feeling semi-conscious in the STICU and knowing that I would need to get a jump start on milk production so I had the nurses snag me a pump and I got to work. I kept it up throughout my hospital stay, and continued when we got home because things weren't looking up in the breastfeeding department. When it was looking like A wasn't going to be "drinking from the tap" (as my lactation consultant lovingly put it, LOL), I doubled down and began researching how to make it all work. Enter: exclusively pumping (EP). I am basically a human cow, pumping straight into bottles and then A gets the good stuff. I was super-resentful at first. I mean, it's not supposed to be so damn hard, right?! But, it is. I feel lucky it worked out so well with E. At least I have that experience under my belt. Once I exhausted every conceivable trick in the book, I felt that it was time to find another way. I had a feeling EP was going to be our reality earlier than when I succumbed to it, but I had to try everything first. Otherwise I would always wonder.
I read as much online as I could about EP and tried to find information about running and EP. There was nothing. At all. So, it's an experiment of one. I started out pumping up to 8x/day, then by two months it was 6x/day, and at 12 weeks my supply was stable enough that I could drop it to four times/day and still have the same production as I had at 8x/day. My production has been massive this time around. I struggled often to keep production up when I was breastfeeding E. It's interesting how different so many things are about this particular journey. Pumping 4x/day isn't bad, in fact it's downright convenient if I'm being honest. I can plan it around whatever I may be doing each day. I find it works best if I have 6-7 hours between pumps (I get much better results this way, which is completely against everything I read that insists you have to pump at least every three hours in order to keep up supply. I say, find what works for you :)).
I can run as usual as long as it's after I pump, otherwise it's just uncomfortable. Racing is totally fine except I'm not sure how hard running would effect things and I really don't want to race long enough that I need to factor in a pumping session. Seems like way more work than is necessary. Someone in an online running group said something that I really resonated with. "I've decided that's it's just not the season of life for me to be running really long distances. But, that season will come back around and I'll be ready when it does." She was talking about how her young family was taking priority over ultra distance training and racing. It made me feel so much less alone. They are little for such a short period of time that I don't want to miss any of the really good stuff because I'm out doing a six-eight hour run. More power to you if you're able to/want to do such things :)
I plan to EP as long as possible, but not beyond one year. That's my limit :) I breastfed E for 21 months and only stopped because I was pregnant with A. But I haven't had enough of the Kool-Aid to feel like I want to pump past 12 months :) Plus, I have a crazy frozen stash. So much, in fact that I was able to donate a huge chunk of it when I realized we weren't going to use it before it would reach its use-by date. I found a mama in need and handed over 173 precious ounces from those early days (so it's the really good stuff!). It felt good to help someone out and it felt good to free up space in our friends' deep freezer that they have graciously let me take up space in with my stash. As time goes on, I'll probably end up donating most of my stash since I'm able to pump more than enough to give A the freshies everyday. We'll see.
In any event, I have my eyes on a trail half marathon early summer, and maybe a return to the steeplechase if we are in town. The 50k (North Face Park City) I really wanted to do doesn't appear to be returning to Utah, so I'll need to find something else for the fall.
Lest you think I have it together in putting together this post, you should know it has taken the better part of three hours, two diaper blowouts, a baby nap, coloring with my toddler, two loads of laundry, and two readings of Goodnight Moon before actually finishing :)
We are redefining our normal on a daily basis. At least that part of our life is consistent!