Saturday, May 29, 2010

Survival Guide, version 2010

So I survived my first (and only) full week of work. It was really, really good. Not to say that I didn't cry Monday morning--there might have been some tears combined with ridiculous statements like, "Make sure to tell (the babysitter) that she likes to be held on your left shoulder," but once again, the world continued to spin on its axis and life went on. I walked into my classroom Monday morning to find a handmade sign on an old piece of cardboard that said, "Welcome Back Mrs. Ziemnik!" with my students signatures all over it. So that helped.

It also helps that it's only for 2 1/2 weeks. But I love what I do, and I know that I am not supposed to walk away now. Back with Bug I wasn't quite sure, but now I know for sure.

The mornings are a little nuts, though. Trying to get two kids fed, with some semblance of hygiene, and dressed appropriately (Bug wanted to wear his dinosaur costume from Halloween the other day, and I was this close to just letting him), make sure their lunches are ready, and then somehow get MYSELF in a work-appropriate outfit with all hygiene needs met is quite challenging. I seriously, seriously don't know how people with more than two kids do it. With two kids, you can at least use man-to-man defense. With more than that, you gotta switch to zone.

So, in an effort to clarify to my future self (in August, when I go back "for real") how best to do all this stuff, I'm going to make a little list here. Maybe it will help someone else out there, but maybe not. Every job is different, every kid is different, and every mommy is different. So if you find some good tips in here, awesome. If you laugh at my shortcuts or futility as you juggle WAY more than I do every day, hey, that's awesome, too. But Self of August 2010, here's a few things to remember when you have your inevitable freak-out-OMG-HOWAMIGOINGTODOTHISALL moment:

1. Cheat. Cheat like crazy. This is the same advice that my cooperating teacher gave me when I was student teaching, and it is great advice. Beg, borrow, and steal all you can. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT reinvent the wheel or drive yourself nuts in the name of working-mommy-martyrdom. You'll want to bang your head against the wall. HARD.

How does one cheat? Well, for me, it involved hiring someone to help clean (BEST thing I ever did--as my OCD cleanliness is covered without me spending hours on the weekend during precious naptime trying to do it all) and sometimes going to those meal-assembly places even though I enjoy cooking and actually am quite good at it. It's all about the shortcuts. The way I see it, I am paying for my time (and in some cases, my sanity). I don't do mani-pedis. I don't get my hair DID. I've never really paid full-price for any article of clothing I own. THIS is my splurge. And I love it.

I also work through lunch. I have a 54-minute lunch, which usually consists of 5-10 minutes checking email and maybe some light stretching (since I never sit down), 10 minutes for lunch, and the rest grading papers. More done at school = less to take home. And more time with the little ones. I don't really miss the lunchroom, anyway. It's not that exciting.

2. The mornings are YOURS. You might think you want to work out later, but you don't. Really. In the wee hours of the morning, no one needs you. It's just YOUR time. You can fill it with a treadmill run watching a combination of Jon Stewart and The Hills if you want--mornings don't judge. Then you get to spend all evening relaxing with your Bug and Bean and Matt, and it's all good.

3. You can succeed working out inside. It's not ideal, by any stretch of the imagination. Would I rather do a hard 8 mile tempo run outside? With friends? Of course. But to coordinate that during either a naptime or an early morning with friends who are exactly my pace and goals and can adapt to my schedule is virtually impossible. Save the friend runs for leisurely trail runs for now, so you don't feel like puking and can actually talk. Kick your own ass in your basement if you need to. Alone. You'll survive, and your race results won't suffer. There's a time and a place for everything--just as friendships go through phases, so does your relationship with running/riding/swimming. The long bricks followed by an hour of lingering over coffee might be gone for now, but because you WANT them to. You'd rather be snuggling with the kids watching Sesame Street--for now. That relationship you used to have will come back someday--when you want it to. Before New Orleans 70.3 last year, I barely got outside (except to run) at ALL. You know what? I still did okay. It's possible.

4. Mommy Guilt is powerful. And Mommy Guilt is STUPID. REJECT the MOMMY GUILT. This has been the hardest thing for me to understand. Because it is this crazy, instinctual thing programmed within me. Just as I never really got the "Mama Bear" instinct that would make me rip someone's head off if they harmed my kid BEFORE I had a kid, I never understood Mommy Guilt until October, 2007, either. It's pretty horrible at times. But you have to remember that happy mommy = happy babies. Unhappy Mommy--one who feels they have lost themselves and part of their identity to raise their children--well, that definitely is not a happy situation. Sometimes you have to leave a toddler screaming at home for 38 minutes so you can go hammer out a nice hard run. From my experience, about 90 seconds after you leave, said toddler stops freaking out, and you come home all refreshed (although sweaty) and ready to deal with any future meltdowns should they occur.

5. Do the best you can, everyday. It's good enough. I promise.

I may add to this list as I go, but for now, Self of August, there is your manifesto.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Back to School

Bug smells the flowers he gave me for Mother's Day

So I head back to school tomorrow morning. For 2 1/2 weeks. Let's just say we DEFINITELY timed things up better this time!

I'm feeling really calm and ready to go back. The first time was really, really rough--I was still pretty sleep-deprived, it was my first year teaching a very challenging class, and I wasn't sure if I should be a working mommy. Now, I feel a sense of peace knowing without a doubt that I should be a working mommy. It took me a bit to figure it out, but now I know, and it feels pretty good. I don't have to go through that struggle of "is this right?" again. Not to say it will be easy tomorrow--I am sure there might be a few tears in the morning on my drive in. But knowing it's right makes it a little easier.

Bean and I enjoying a Mommy and Me Yoga Class

I'm excited to see my students again, even though it's only for a few days before we are all off again. And I'm really excited to start training with the Evotri Kids again this summer. I wasn't sure if I could pull off two babies, my training, and training the kids, but I had a few revelations about how to make it a bit more streamlined and efficient, and I am pumped UP. I'll be meeting with some of the girls next Wednesday, and hopefully touching base with the other school that week, too. It will be so much fun to train with the girls this summer--and thankfully this time I won't be dealing with morning sickness and trying not to puke! BONUS!

In training news, I am still a good 23 pounds up from where I started...but 40 down. Not too bad for 12 weeks out, but still quite a ways to go. However, Tubby can still run! I had a great 7 mile tempo run yesterday and it felt freaking awesome. I managed to hold 2 miles at around 8:20, which is not my normal tempo pace but relatively speaking is pretty darn fast right now for me. :) I'm looking forward to getting back in the pool here soon, and picking up my new bike at the shop in the next few days!

Spinning and strength have helped me a lot and my clothes are FINALLY starting to least enough for me to piece together 9 days worth of work-appropriate outfits. I was a little afraid I'd have to wear yoga pants to work...but luckily my flab is starting to melt off a bit and I can (sorta) squeeze into a few things again!

Between training the girls, spending time with my two kiddos, and training myself...this summer's gonna seriously rock.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Letter to my Pregnant Runner Friends

To those who know who they are,

The ones who were pregnant with me. Or were pregnant before. The real and the virtual. To all of you who were first, an athlete, and then became a mommy.

Thank you.

For being there to vent to, to cry with, to share fears and thoughts and dreams with. For those who are working outside the home and for those who are working inside your home to raise your babies the best way you can, and for those who are caught somewhere in between. To all of you, for getting up early or working out late, so that you can kiss the tears away and make the sandwiches and pay the bills without missing a second away from those eyes.

For those who answered my late-night calls or silly facebook messages when I just needed to irrationally cry about losing complete control over my body, because you know. You know, as an athlete, how hard that is to do. But we did it, and whether we knew it or not at the time, we did it for the most amazing reason ever.

Some of you are so fast you win marathons when you don't even know you're pregnant. Some of you, like me, are just there mostly to compete against yourself. Some of you I've never met in person, but I feel like you're a dear friend because I can relate to where you are so much since we went through this together. Some of you have kids that are a little older, and I hope I can balance being an athlete and a mother and an all-around amazing person half as wonderfully as you have. You know who you are.

Each and every one of you I have learned something from.

This time around was even more special than the first, because this time I really understood that I could still be an athlete while also being a mother. And I got to share that with you. We ran together, we swam together, we talked about stuff only pregnant women really need to talk about together, so I'll spare the internet the details. We were nervous together. We grew together.

And we'll continue to grow together, too. I hope we still share our fears and hopes and dreams and know that no matter what decisions we make, sometimes this is really, really hard. I think that old quote really sums it up well: that becoming a mother is like making the decision to forever have your heart walking outside your body. It's amazing and petrifying and gratifying all at once.

And that's why we still need each other.

Today, we're pushing strollers as we run. And just like it was before the strollers, every run is just so much better when a friend is there.

Because doing flip turns at 38 weeks pregnant with your friends is freaking awesome.

Because the promise of pancakes always makes you hit the runner's high, even if you are waddling.

Because your friendships mean so much to me.

Thank you. More than you know.


Tuesday, May 04, 2010


So there's been a wrench thrown in my masters swim plans.

Apparently, there's a new manager at this club that did the outdoor masters near me in the wee hours of the morning last summer. The one I heard such good things about. And now, this new manager said NO to the masters team using their pool.


Because that was going to be SO perfect! I could get in a 90 minute hard swim before anyone was up in my house.


So now, I decided that instead of plunking down the $40 fee for masters plus a drop in fee to swim this month, I'd just plunk that down on a one-month unlimited pass to here.

Because my pool opens May 31, and I feel sorta crazy guilty about spending any extra money on a pool when I can use one very very soon. The drawback is that I won't have lane mates to push me and stuff, but I think my buddy Martha is in for some early morning swims so we'll just have to push each other! :)

And spinning/strength is going to burn WAY more calories for me, which will help melt away these last pounds. They are starting to come off (yay!), but I know it will be a while before they're all off. I did the YogaRide on Sunday morning, which was awesome, and last night I did the Ride75 and was able to hang for all 75 minutes! Woot! As Coach Emily says, cycling will be great to get my engine back in order and help me avoid injuries that I might get if I run too much right now.

Plus, the strength and core classes will be good for me. And the times are more flexible than the masters swim--the bummer about the masters is it's just a rotten time. It's bed/bath/fussy time, and it's just hard for me to justify leaving.

So I think this will work out. But hold me accountable in the pool, will ya? I need to not slack off like I usually do.

And HOLY SMOKES am I excited for a little package to arrive in the mail on Thursday...let's just say I'll be heading back up to Spin soon to reunite my old parts with my new frame! Pictures to follow. And just in time for Mother's Day!

Mommy like.

Mommy like VERY MUCH.