Run, BrewsterMama, Run!

Last weekend, I finally accomplished something I’ve wanted to do for a long time: I ran my first half marathon! ūüôā

I signed up for the Bull City Half in May (I think) and more or less followed the beginner training plan in¬†The Marathon Method by Tom Holland. If you’re looking for a book on how to train for your first half or full marathon, I highly recommend this book. Not only does it give you detailed plans for beginner, intermediate, and advanced training for full¬†and¬†half marathons, but it also covers strength training, injuries, and a bunch of other topics.

My primary goal was to finish, obviously, but my secondary goal was to finish in under 2:30. (That’s a roughly 11:50 min/mile.) A few weeks into training, my friend Emily (the one who convinced me that I¬†could do a half marathon) also convinced me of the sanity to be found in using the “Galloway method” of run/walk splits. I did the remainder of my training running for a little over 5 minutes and then briskly walking 45 seconds to make an even 6 minute cycle. (I like round numbers…) I¬†still¬†have a hard time not adding the caveat “But I didn’t run the¬†whole¬†time, so I’m not really a runner….” to any conversation I have about running. Using the run/walk method, I averaged between 9:45 and 10:15 min/mile throughout most of my training.

Unfortunately the last 2 weeks before the half were complete rest weeks for me, as DB was out of town and that means that I can’t get up and run before work like I usually do. I mean, the kids would¬†probably¬†be asleep the whole time I was gone but nowadays it’s pretty firmly frowned upon to leave 3 children under 6 alone in the house for extended periods of time, even if they’re sleeping. So when I went into the run last Sunday, I knew my pace wasn’t going to be quite up to speed (pun intended, ha!) but I also figured I was well rested and ready to go.

I managed to finish in 2:18, so roughly 10:35 min/mile. ūüôā Not quite as fast as I was running in training, but still a respectable pace. Even if I didn’t run the¬†whole¬†time…. *eye roll*

And I had a really good time. The whole day was a lot of fun, from start to finish, and a totally new experience for me. The vibe was very different than the typical 5K I run – it was a different kind of camaraderie than found at shorter races. I especially liked the fact that runners got 2 free beers from really decent breweries! And the food truck rodeo! Runner math: spend 2 1/2 hours burning 1800 calories, spend 30 minutes post-race consuming 2000 calories in beer and steamed bao.

Now the only question is, what half marathon do I sign up for next?

Pre-race with my friends Christy and Emily

Looking forward toward the start

Looking back at the “slower” runners, many of which would pass me later on

Giant sparkly finisher medal! Makes it all worth it

Well, and beer. Beer makes it worth it too. And no, it wasn’t Bud Light, it was craft beer in Bud Light cups. Thank God.

Hooray for running friends!

Time for a change

For a very long time I have had very long hair. For such a long time, actually, that I had gotten really, really attached to having long hair and even got kind of teary during my biannual trims. It was truly a lot easier to have such long hair than most people thought because all I had to do was throw it up in a pony or a bun and go.

But it started to bug me that I had this long, pretty (in my opinion) hair and I never wore it down. Because when I¬†did¬†wear it down, it got into EVERYTHING. Our food. Our clothes. Itty Bitty’s diapers. All over the bathroom floor. As much crazy long hair as I shed all over, I’m surprised I didn’t go totally bald. So last weekend I decided it was time for a change and that I was going to get my first significant haircut since 2011. (Sad but true.) I was a little nervous because long hair has been my “signature style” for¬†forever, if you can call long hair constantly pulled back a style.

For comparison, here’s a photo from the back before I left for my appointment:

I actually hacked off about 6″ while I was home on maternity leave 5 or so months ago, so it used to be even longer.

And here’s a picture from the back after I got home:

Here’s the front view

I brought my cut ponytails home and am going to mail them in to the Pantene Beautiful Lengths program as soon as I get an envelope. (In 2011, when I cut my hair, it was to donate to this program. With my love of oncology nursing, I would rather donate to cancer patients than anything else. Also, I got a nice thank you note from them last time I donated, something I never got when I donated to Locks of Love. I’m just saying that a little thank you goes a long way.)

Now that it’s been about a week, I’m settling into my new ‘do. I can still pull it back into a tiny nub pony for running, which is great. But if I have it down, it doesn’t get in the way like mad like it used to. I don’t really know if I’m going to start growing it out again or keep it trimmed to this length for awhile. For the moment, I’m just enjoying the change from my usual routine.

Tooting my own horn

I’m just proud of myself – the big girls and I ran the Colin Cancer Coalition’s Get Your Rear in Gear 5K this morning. 

And I actually managed to jog the whole thing! I finished in a little over 39 minutes, which isn’t too damn bad considering I was pushing a double stroller with nearly 80 lbs of kid. 

(For reference, my first post-Itty Bitty 5K on February 12 was about 31 minutes.) 

Everyone was super supportive and cheered when they saw us coming, which was so nice. 

I am working on updates for all of the kids and the garden and the brewing – or lack thereof- but it’s a slow process. Stay tuned! 

It’s the final countdown!

It absolutely boggles my mind to say it out loud, but I go back to work a week from today.

I have no idea where my maternity leave and the first twelve weeks of Itty Bitty’s life have gone. It truly seems like it was just yesterday that maternity leave stretched infinitely before me and I was¬†never¬†going to get to go back to work and I was going to lose my mind before the end. Don’t get me wrong – I am so very glad and grateful that I have been able to stay home with my babies for 12 weeks each time. I love not having to put them in daycare until they are a little bit older and sturdier.

But having spent time as a stay-at-home mom¬†and spent time as a working mom, I can tell you that I think being a working mom¬†is much easier than staying home with my kids. Being a stay-at-home mom is, in my opinion, the most difficult job on the planet and one which I am not mentally equipped to undertake. Perhaps it would be easier if my¬†children were older and I wouldn’t find it to be so excruciatingly isolating and difficult if I stuck at it for months and years, but I doubt it. When patients frequently tell me that they’re sorry I have to work and that my kids go to preschool, I always want to reply, “Why? I get leave my girls with people who have¬†nothing¬†to do all day but interact with them and teach them and care for them while I get to come and do a job that I absolutely adore and I’m actually pretty damn good at.¬†If we were all home together, they would not be getting my undivided attention because I would still have laundry and dishes and cooking and cleaning to do, in addition to taking care of them.”

But I digress. This wasn’t actually supposed to be a foray onto my soapbox of “Staying at home with kids is really hard and those parents don’t get enough credit.” This is supposed to be a brief update on Itty Bitty and life in general with three amazing girls.

Itty Bitty is, without a doubt, the smiliest baby ever.

jan-10-17-1 jan-1-17-1

She gets so incredibly excited anytime anyone comes and talks to her or interacts with her. She particularly adores the Littlest Brewster, a feeling that is mutual as LB thinks that her littlest sister is the bee’s knees. Itty Bitty is pretty laid back for the most part, cycling through eat, be awake for a bit, sleep for a bit most of the day without much crying or fussing. Like most babies, she gets pretty frotchety from 4:30 or so onward and doesn’t want to be put down; though as long as she’s being toted around or is on someone’s lap, she’s a happy camper.

I feel like we have been exceedingly lax at trying to get her on a schedule re: naps and bedtimes. I need to go back and look at the monthly updates I did for LB and BIT (something you’ll notice I did not do for IBB) and see if they were on more of a schedule by now or if I’m misremembering. Granted, I know I haven’t really pushed the schedule issue because 1) with the bigger two being in school and having to get picked up and dropped off daily (I don’t do both but I do at least one or the other every day), Itty Bitty and I were rarely home for an entire day, 2) with the holidays and travel, it’s super difficult to maintain kids’ schedules and 3) I knew that whatever schedule I managed to get IBB on would go to pot as soon as she went to daycare. So I sort of went with the “sleep whenever you’re tired for as long as you feel the need” schedule during the day. Nights, we mostly try to do bath, bottle, bed between 6 and 7. She will typically be up once or twice a night and then up for the day between 6 and 7 in the morning. I’m usually pretty accepting of still being up with her during the night, though I get kind of frantic when she has the occasional “bad” night and is up more than that and I convince myself we are doing something wrong and she will never sleep through the night, ever, and I will never be well rested again, ever. Thankfully, she rarely has more than one difficult night in a row and I breathe a sigh of relief the next night, secure once more in the knowledge that we haven’t ruined her sleeping forever through our erroneous attempts at parenting.

On the whole, I feel like life with three kids is going pretty well. It helps that the Littlest Brewster is now old enough to be sort of helpful and sort of autonomous. And both LB and BIT really love Itty Bitty and we’ve been blessed that there has been no actual anger or malicious jealousy over how much of my time and attention she gets. The DreadBrewer, while always an incredibly involved father, has started doing even more with the big girls (if possible), which has definitely helped with the transition. He does baths about half the week and bedtime most of the week for them. They¬†love¬†doing things with Daddy as he is definitely more fun and rough-house-y than Mommy is. (I just don’t play like that. I’ve tried and I can’t do it. I also have serious guilt issues that I can’t take care of everyone in the family all on my own but that’s just my own insecurities talking.) All in all, I feel like we’re settling into our groove as a family of five. Though I’m sure that will all go out the window when I go back to work next week and we have to establish a new routine all over again.

But it’ll be worth it. I could use a break. ūüėõ

Let’s Be Clich√©

Indeed, let’s be clich√© and put our New Year’s Resolutions out there for all to see. Actually, since you all have no way to amend this blog (barring comments, which I would LOVE to see containing your New Year’s Resolutions), this will just be MY list of resolutions. Or goals, as I have decided to call them this year.

Goal #1: I will exercise 3 times a week for >30 minutes and will ultimately be able to run a 5K without stopping.

HOW: (This is how it’s different this year, pardon the idiocy factor. I am making plans for how I’ll succeed, as opposed to just making broad generalizations of what I would like to accomplish.) I am halfway through the Couch to 5K program, so I need to keep up the momentum. And I need to recommit to getting out for runs in the morning, before 5 am, since that is the only time I really have to myself. (Though not tomorrow as it’s a 100% chance of rain. I can run down to 37¬į or so, but I can’t run in the rain. Yet. Give it time. And awesome run gear like I got from Jessie for Christmas.)

Goal #2: I will eat 3 balanced meals a day and I will focus on choosing healthful foods.

HOW: I know I am going to have to seriously work on weekend prep once I go back to work (less than 2 weeks!) . If I don’t have healthy options easily available, I won’t pick them – so a big Sunday prep for the week may have to be the new normal. BUT I think if I can get into the habit of doing so this will be my easiest resolution to keep as I actually like healthful foods and how they make me feel.

Goal #3: Cut back to one glass of wine during the week and two on weekends (defined as Fri/Sat/Sun).

HOW: No idea – it’s impossible. Just kidding… kind of … … I know it can be done as I’ve obviously cut back even farther while pregnant without deleterious effects. I think it will be a two prong strategy consisting of 1) Get fancy teas and other no- or low-calorie beverage alternatives¬†so I don’t blow up like a blimp with non-alcoholic beverage calories and 2) Put off having said glass of wine as long as humanly possible, i.e. after kids are in bed. Which, as you all know, is an eternity, particularly when they are being very kid-like (read: absolute shits).

Goal #4: I will floss daily, with a minimum goal of 5 days/week.

HOW: Just do it. Actually, I should maybe start doing it in the morning and get that box checked for the day. Or at anytime of the day besides bed time. Because 45 seconds to floss when you are damn near dead on your feet after 9 pm is 45 seconds too long.

Goal #5: I will adopt a cash-only attitude and stick to a budget of $20 a week.

HOW: I will actually get cash out! And I won’t use my cards (except for gas or other crazy big purchases, like groceries). And I will stop going to Starbucks or Target just because I am bored and lonely and I would like to interact with someone besides the Itty Bitty Brewster, no matter how briefly. We have a latte maker at home if I get the itch and we certainly don’t need any more crap from Target. Cash only, Starbucks only with the Littlest Brewster as a “Friday Morning Tradition.” No deviations.

And there you have it. My list of 5 achievable, with effort, goals for 2017. Sure, I have a ton of other goals – yell at my kids less, write to mom twice a week, keep in better contact with Elise, Kristen, and Anne, text Jessie every day, don’t take out my random frustrations on the DreadBrewer, – but those are all vaguely nebulous and not necessarily achievable. And if there is one thing I have learned, the whole “Make sure your goals are SMART” (Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Timely) nonsense is actually¬†not¬†nonsense. So while it may make me feel virtuous to say “I’m going to yell at my children less!”, unless I can actually check a box or measure progress towards it, I’ll just get frustrated and give up. And probably yell more in the process.

So let’s start with some SMART goals for the year. And if by achieving these, I can perhaps yell at my kids a little less and email my friends a little more, I will be one happy camper. And if not, well, I’m human. And I’ll try to do better tomorrow.