Thursday, June 27

Training for two: week 21

I'm starting to wonder, am I growing a baby or a future David Beckham in my belly? Hello kicking!

Here are the workout details from week 21...

Friday: 4 mile walk

Saturday: prenatal yoga

Sunday: 2 mile walk at Mount Vernon
(My father in law was in town, which meant brunch and sightseeing instead of a run!)

Monday: 4.5 mile walk + 0.5 mile run

Tuesday: 3 mile walk + 10 minute prenatal yoga (in my office! on my lunch break!)
Note: The cobra pose about halfway through the routine made me realize that not all workouts labeled "prenatal" are well thought out. It's my understanding that pregnant women shouldn't be laying on their bellies or doing back bends late in pregnancy. Exercise good judgement, even if the instructor claims the workout is OK for your stage pregnancy.

Wednesday: 3 mile walk  + prenatal strength routine from fitsugar

Thursday: 3 mile walk

19.5 miles walked, 0.5 miles run, yoga, and strength training.

We also had our mid-pregnancy ultrasound this morning. Baby BOY is doing just fine, but his head is  down, which would explain the running discomfort I've had for the past couple of weeks. Maybe his cardio (kickboxing!) makes up for my lack of running this week?


Seven tips to navigate the post-partum transition time provides the type of common-sense advice that we all (prenant and non-pregnant, parents and non-parents, runners and non-runners) can use from time to time.

In fact, the advice might be just as good for runners as for new parents:
  1. Stop comparing yourself to others.
  2. Surrender to the process.
  3. It's just temporary.
  4. Let go of how you thought it would be
  5. There is no such thing as perfect.
  6. Get support.
  7. Rest and recharge.
Also... In other good reads this week... I hope my labor isn't nearly as chaotic as this woman's birth ordeal.

Public Service Message from Captain Obvious: These posts are not intended to be a set of week-by-week pregnancy workout guidelines. Every woman needs to do what's right for her and her baby, with a doctor's guidance, of course. I'd just like to keep y'all up to date on how things are going in my little world.

Friday, June 21

Weekly roundup: truth stranger than fiction

Welcome to another installment of the weekly roundup we all know and love: Friday potluck! This week's theme: You just can't make these things up...


This guy should be behind bars... and not the happy-hour kind.
The repeat DUI offender showed police a beer can, instead of identification, when pulled over for his latest arrest.


A naked gymnast has been harassing transit riders in San Francisco.
Enough said.
Image source

Just sit right back and I'll tell you a tale. A tale of a fateful trip...

How long would you survive trapped inside a sunken shipwreck?
1 minute? 2 minutes? 5?
Oh... Gilligan!
Would you last underwater for a three hour tour?

How about THREE DAYS?

When his boat capsized, Okene Harrison, of Nigeria, found an air pocket inside the ship. By staying in the trapped air bubble, he survived for more than 60 hours underwater until rescue divers saved him.


When my family drove up Mount Washington some 20 years ago, my mother wouldn't even look out the window because the road was so steep.

Yet every year a group of thrill-seeking (masochistic?) runners line up to race their way up the mountain's 12 percent incline to reach the peak at 6,288 feet in the annual Mount Washington Road Race. The weather can be fierce and has been described as the worst weather in the world.

Sounds like a difficult run, right?

Try running Mount Washington at age 93, like George Etzweiler just did. Etzweiler finished just over the official race cutoff time, in 3 hours and 15 minutes, but finish he did.


I'm not sure this counts as truth-is-stranger-than-fiction, but if you told me 6 months ago that I'd loathe leafy greens, we wouldn't be friends anymore. Them's fightin' words!

Unfortunately, one of the side effects of pregnancy is that my taste buds seem to have gone on vacation. Pre-pregnancy, if you asked my favorite vegetable, I'd have told you spinach was high on the list and swiss chard a close second. Now, sadly, every green vegetable tastes bitter and horrible. For the first time in my adult life, I emapthize with little kids who don't want to eat their broccoli.

And then I realized that if I pour enough dressing on my vegetables, it drowns out the cries of "bitter! horrible! stop!" that are coming from my hormone-addled tastebuds. (Yes... I have become that person who drowns broccoli in alfredo sauce, spinach in parmesan cheese, and salad in thousand island dressing.)

So this week has been the week of the taco salad:
Taco salad
Mix leafy greens, diced tomato, sliced bell pepper, chopped onion, sliced olives, julienne jicama, minced jalapeno, shredded cheddar. Top it all with a guacamole-and-salsa "dressing" and you have veggies even this pregnant lady can love! (Hey... it might not be the most "power foods" filled salad... No kale or quinoa. But at least I didn't break down and eat nachos for dinner!)

"Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't"
Mark Twain


Thursday, June 20

Training for two: week 20

It's like mile 13.1 in a marathon! Like the 50 mile point in a century bike ride! As in... you know you've accomplished a lot. But you're getting tired. Your muscles are starting to ache. You start fantasizing about hot food and cold beverages...
Yet still... There's. So. Much. Farther. To. Go!

Here are the workout details from week 20...

Friday: 3 mile walk

Saturday: 2 mile walk

Sunday: 2 mile run + 4 mile walk
This week's run was as hard as last week's run was easy.
Every time I'd start running, baby took that as a cue to tap dance on my bladder. So, I'd stop at a restroom. Do my thing. Wash my hands. Get running again, and... 30 seconds later... feel like I needed to pee again. Even though, clearly, I didn't need to pee again.
(Baby, haven't you been paying attention to those pregnancy books we've been reading??? You're supposed to be lulled to sleep while mommy is in motion! What's that? Babies don't follow instructions? Sure... Now you tell me!)
After 25 minutes of this, I threw in the towel and walked.

But when's the last time you tried running with someone punching you in the kidneys? (Alma and Keyalus need not reply...) Plus, I didn't quit. I just slowed down.

Monday: 4 mile walk + prenatal yoga

Tuesday: 3 mile walk + squats and leg lifts (from fitsugar) + no-gear-needed upper body workout (from fitnessblender)

Wednesday: 4 mile walk

Thursday: 3 mile walk
(and maybe prenatal yoga later tonight)

23 miles walked, 2 miles run, and some legitimate strength training.

My household goods (read: furniture, housewares, weights, and fitness equipment) are were scheduled to arrive from Florida next week but now there's another delay... I may see my furniture and fitness equipment again sometime next month. I cannot wait to have weights again! (Or furniture, for that matter.) Yoga and home repair projects have not been a fair substitute for twice-weekly lifting sessions over the past two months. My formerly proud triceps are starting to look like lunch lady arms...


Outside Magazine's piece "Is it safe to race pregnant?" was about the wishy-washiest piece of not-a-real-article magazine garbage I've read since the last time I picked up a copy of Cosmo.

Rather than cite actual research on the effects of exercise on pregnant physiology, Outside writers trotted out a bunch of vague notions, maybes, and possibilities.

In the article, Outside refers to "plenty of other studies" that have associated high-impact exercise with increased risk of miscarriage, but yet they link to only one study, in which the researchers themselves admit that no strong conclusion could be reached from their data because of flaws in the research design. In other words, in the one study cited by Outside, even researchers did not think there was strong evidence of an increased risk of miscarriage.

Seriously, Outside needs to stick to camping and high-altitude climbing articles.

(For what it's worth... The article "Baby Gate: Running During Pregnancy" in Women's Running magazine was much better. The short version: Don't start running after you get knocked up, but if you've been running and doctor clears you to keep running, you're probably A-OK.)

Public Service Message from Captain Obvious: These posts are not intended to be a set of week-by-week pregnancy workout guidelines. Every woman needs to do what's right for her and her baby, with a doctor's guidance, of course. I'd just like to keep y'all up to date on how things are going in my little world.

Tuesday, June 18

Read the label before you judge

The longer I'm pregnant, the more I love my baby, and the more I hate strangers.

Let me explain...

It all started when a stranger rolled her eyes at me as I left the table at a restaurant. My crime? There was an empty bottle of beer at my place... A non-alcoholic beer. But the woman never bothered to read the label. She just judged.

And this got me thinking about how much unwarranted judgement pregnant women endure...

The million reasons why moms don't need a critic's corner...

A few weeks ago I sat in a prenatal yoga class in which each and every woman admitted to spending at least a good chunk of her pregnancy terrified that something might harm her baby, and doing all manner of extreme things to ensure her baby's safety.

If you've been pregnant, you probably know exactly what I mean. If you haven't, here's a taste of what expectant moms go through:
Mothers give up coffee, green tea, black tea, iced tea, chamomile tea, licorice tea, brie cheese, blue cheese, feta cheese, goat cheese, deli meat, hot dogs, pate, wine, beer, cigarettes, sushi, canned tuna, swordfish, smoked salmon, raw oysters, poached eggs, alfalfa sprouts, pre-packaged deli salads, peanut butter, and tap water to protect their growing child.* 
Mothers are told to avoid hot tubs, saunas, and amusement park rides. They're told to give up gymnastics, basketball, horseback riding, surfing, scuba diving, waterskiing, downhill skiing, hockey, and other contact sports, as well as a variety of weight lifting moves and yoga poses.

Every week a new headline, email subject line, or text message from a relative unearths some new terror that might threaten the unborn child.

*Note: Some of those things, like peanut butter and cheese made from pasturized milk, are perfectly safe for mothers and babies, but old wives' tales prevail. The advice on others, like deli meat, is conflicting. It is also worth noting that no one tells a mother to stop driving, which is - statistically speaking - actually pretty risky... but I digress.
In addition to the laundry list of taboos, Mothers give up sleep long before baby is born, tossing and turning through the night because no position is comfortable for longer than an hour. They endure stuffy noses, swollen feet, and achy backs. They take prenatal vitamins. They go in for their checkups.

Mothers do all of this because want their babies to be healthy and happy, and they quietly sacrifice their own comfort to ensure that baby is healthy and happy.

Mothers also happen to be one of the most insecure groups of people on the planet. New expectant mothers make teenage girls look like a self-assured bunch of superstars. Pregnant women worry about everything.
  • Is my toenail polish going to give my baby two heads?
  • I had a margarita before I knew I was pregnant, is that going to stunt my child's mental development?
  • If I play tennis, will the bouncing hurt the baby?
  • There was blue cheese in my salad. Should I call my doctor?
  • If my heart rate goes up over 140 when I exercise, am I cutting off the baby's oxygen supply?

In short: New moms are already borderline neurotic. They do not need strangers piling on. They have enough anxiety to cover all the bases.

Now back to the judgement bit...

Evidence shows that the vast majority of moms are doing things by the book (and I say this as a demographer, who has spent a good deal of time studying fertility, infant mortality, and child health trends). Child health has never been better. Infant mortality rates are at their lowest on record. Prenatal vitamin consumption is higher than ever.

Still, people (often complete strangers) butt in with half-baked "advice" that makes a mom feel like total garbage.

I only recently started to "look" pregnant, but I've already been chastised for running and I've been gasped-at for painting my living room. (I used low VOC paints and all of the windows were open. No one was in any danger. But why should I even have to defend myself?)

Last week a complete stranger walked up to me in a restaurant to berate me for drinking a piƱa colada.

He only backed off when I clarified that it was a VIRGIN colada.

I was stupified into a silence that is extremely rare for me. In hindsight, I wish I had said something like this:
Dude. This isn't an episode of What Would You Do. First, if I were going to drink while pregnant, I'd do it at home with no audience so I wouldn't have to endure people like you. And second, and much more importantly, I GAVE UP ALCOHOL WHEN THE PEE-STICK SHOWED A PLUS SIGN so you can take your effing self-righteousness and shove it up your... Ahem...

This morning, while "taking baby out for a run" along the Potomac, I was feeling proud that I'm staying fit for baby. I may not race any 5Ks this year. I may shuffle through a 4 minute run / 1 minute walk routine and make frequent bathroom stops. But I'm staying fit for the kid as much as for my own sanity.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day during pregnancy for women with uncomplicated pregnancies. The most current, peer-reviewed medical research shows that, in the absence of a serious condition like incompetent cervix, physical fitness makes babies HEALTHIER and makes labor and recovery easier.

Running may not be for everyone, but for me, a 45 minute run/walk is moderate physical activity. I even checked with my doc, who replied:
"Keep it up! If you can do it, keep running through the whole pregnancy!"

Yet, despite the fact that I'm making a well-informed decision in conjunction with my doctor (and, not incidentally, in the baby's best interests), I got looks of horror when people saw my baby-belly as I was running.

One woman gasped an audible:
"Oh my god. What are you doing?"
(I'm flipping you off, is what I'm doing, honey. Mind your own ignorant business!)

Seriously, do people think that pregnant women are that naive? Do they think we're brain dead?

Oh... I know!
They think they're "just trying to help!"

How to really be a helper...

To all the "helpers" out there: The person you're picking on is probably a completely competent mother-to-be, who is going for her prenatal checkups, eating her vegetables (even if spinach makes her gag), and taking a daily multivitamin.

Statistically speaking, chances are excellent that the mother you're "just trying to help" is already doing everything her doctor has told her to do, and in a few months she's going to give birth to a perfectly healthy child. (And if she doesn't, the problem might have been a congenital defect, and you're going to make her feel personally responsible for something that wasn't her fault.)

And more importantly, there are women who need more guidance. But you're probably never going to see the women who really and truly need help.

You're never going to give advice to a meth addict whose baby is going to born underweight, with a cleft palate, and neurodevelopmental problems. You're never going to give advice to an HIV-positive prostitute. You're never going to give advice to a woman in an abusive relationship who needs to find safety for her and her baby.

So here's a suggestion: Take your "good advice" and keep it in your good head, and direct that pent-up energy into things that actually matter. For example, you could:
  • Write a letter to your representative in Congress to request better maternal and family leave policies.
  • Support policies that improve access to affordable healthcare.
  • Lobby for better screening for and treatment of postpartum depression.
  • Raise money to support free childbirth and parenting classes, offered at convenient times and locations.
  • Volunteer at a substance abuse clinic for expectant mothers.
  • Support universal sex, parenting, and childbirth education.

Stop picking on pregnant women.
They have enough to worry about without you butting in.
And there are plenty of problems that really do need your attention.

(My occasional non-alcoholic beer and run/walk habits are not a problem that needs your solution.)

Friday, June 14

Weekly roundup: funny stuff!

Welcome to another installment of the weekly roundup we all know and love: Friday potluckThis week's theme... well... let's just say there's a bit of bathroom humor. Enjoy!


1. Hilarious letters to teachers...

2. How do you get an avowed non-runner to run?
Tell her "You just hate the marathon because you wouldn’t survive it for a mile." (And that's just the beginning... add in cussing and a case of runner's trots, and this newbie runner's tale will make you laugh out loud. Also, clearly she's never read SUAR's blog.)

3. By now you know I have a pet peeve about dog owners who don't clean up after their pets.
Solution: Move to Brunete, Spain!
Residents of the little Spanish town were fed up with dog s***, so they cooked up a scheme to mail the feces back to the dog owners.
Bingo! 70 percent drop in droppings on the sidewalk!
(Puns completely intended.)


Is anyone surprised that Spirit Airlines is the s****iest airline ranks lowest in customer satisfaction?

Their CEO has been quoted as saying: "People adapt. Your choices at 30,000 feet are pretty limited."
Um. Yeah. That's not reassuring...


At 40 years old, Deena Kastor took 4th place (1st American woman) in the grueling, high-altitude 10K that is BolderBOULDER.


It's summer.
That means zucchini.
Zucchini at farmers markets.
Zucchini in grocery stores.
Zucchini left behind on doorsteps by zucchini-overwhelmed gardening neighbors.
Summer's bounty (including zucchini)
And this Smitten Kitchen recipe for a quick zucchini saute is perfect for a light evening meal. (Or a meal cooked when you have only 2 kitchen utensils... Not like I'd know anything about that...)

"How did NOBODY inform me that when you start distance training you will be consumed with the constant fear that you are going to poop yourself?"
From: The Awful Truth About Jogging


Thursday, June 13

Training for two: week 19 details

Here are the workout details from week 19...

Friday: 2 mile walk

Saturday: prenatal yoga

Sunday: 60 minute run! (4 minute run / 90 second walk)
I stopped keeping track of distance and just ran by time / exertion level.

Monday: 2 mile walk + 30 pushups + 1 minute plank + lower body strength workout from FitSugar

Tuesday: 3 mile walk

Wednesday: 4 mile walk

Thursday: 3 mile walk

14 miles walked, 5(ish?) miles run, and some actual strength training.


Another classic in the not-your-mothers-baby-book genre, the book Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay: And Other Things I Had to Learn as a New Mom was fabulous.

If you're going through new-parent-advice-overload, either put the parenting books DOWN and go out to see a cheeseball movie, OR pick up this book and start reading.

Public Service Message from Captain Obvious: These posts are not intended to be a set of week-by-week pregnancy workout guidelines. Every woman needs to do what's right for her and her baby, with a doctor's guidance, of course. I'd just like to keep y'all up to date on how things are going in my little world.

Monday, June 10

Google Reader's last days (and plenty of reader alternatives)

If you follow run+travel in Google Reader, you've probably already seen warnings that on July 1, Google Reader will be relegated to the virtual scrap heap in the sky.

But you can continue to get regular run+travel updates. You have options. Lots of options!

You can...

Follow on Twitter @RunTraveler
(Seriously, why aren't we Tweeting each other already anyway?)

Subscribe via email to get run+travel delivered straight to your inbox

Subscribe to the run+travel RRS feed

Follow run+travel on Facebook
(Pro tip: Be sure to check "show in news feed." Otherwise Facebook only shows updates to about 10 percent of )

...or switch readers to an app like Feedly, Pulse, or one of the many others available.

Friday, June 7

Weekly roundup: Friday potluck

Welcome to another installment of the weekly roundup we all know and love: Friday potluck! This week's theme? Oh, hell, it's a potluck. There is no theme this week. Just be happy no one brought jello salad.


The Angry Jogger put together a list of comments we're all sick of hearing from non-runners, including the eternal runner vs. jogger debate. My favorite on AJ's list: "I only run when someone is chasing me!"

One corollary "I only run when" comment AJ missed, and one that annoys me most:
"You ran how far? I wouldn't DRIVE that far."
(Um... of course you wouldn't. You lack both motivation and wit.)


Just when you think she can't take her diabetes-inducing cooking to new lows, Paula Deen launches a new line of flavored butters for sale at Wal-Mart.



There is good news on the nutrition horizon! Fast food accounts for a smaller share of calories in the U.S. diet!

Before you go cheering a return to slow-cooked, home-grown meals, note that the report from CDC shows fast food calories as a share of daily caloric intake... So it may be that Americans are eating just as much fast food as they did five years ago, they're just eating more calories overall.

Source: via Jana on Pinterest
Yep. I'm glad I lived that decade, and you couldn't pay me to re-live the era when I lost more than one pair of shoes because a stranger hurled on 'em at a bar.
(I'd MUCH rather lose a pair of shoes because a runner hurls on 'em at a finish line.)


ParkScore ranks cities by the level of public park access.

Does your hometown make the list of Top 10 Cities for Parks?
(My score: I've lived in 2 and traveled to all but one of the top 10...)

Mmm... coffee!

Yep, I'm still a coffee addict.

I drink (mostly) decaf now, and will for the next few months, but it's good to know that my habit is a healthy one.

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, coffee drinkers have higher mortality risk than non-drinkers BUT coffee drinkers are also more likely to be smokers.

Once you account for the effects of smoking, coffee drinkers are healthier than non-coffee-drinkers! (The NYTimes has a good summary of the findings in: "This is your brain on coffee.")

"Bad weather always looks worse through a window."
Tom Lehrer


Thursday, June 6

Training for two: week 18 details

Here are the workout details from week 18...
Baby is keeping me awake most nights already, but otherwise so far, so good!

Friday: 3 mile walk

Saturday: prenatal yoga

Sunday: 3.25 mile run

Monday: 3 mile walk

Tuesday: 3 mile walk

Wednesday: 4 mile walk, 1 minute plank, and 20 each: lunges, squats, and leg lifts

Thursday: 3 mile walk
(I may squeeze one more prenatal yoga video in before bedtime tonight...)

16 miles walked, 3.25 miles run, some strength training, and (at least) one prenatal yoga session.

This was the first week since moving when I got home from work and had enough energy left that I wanted to work out in the evening. Next week I might even try a post-work Jillian Michaels workout!

Exercising Through Your Pregnancy by Catherine Cram and James F. Clapp

Cram and Clapp* provide the facts about fitness during pregnancy and debunk many of the myths.

You've heard that you have to quit running and that cycling will cut off your baby's blood supply? Mmm... those old wives' tales are proof that the world is full of well-intentioned (but ultimately terrible) advice.

Cram and Clapp debunk the junk advice and provide you with an easy-to-read summary of the science.

If you want to keep working out after you get knocked up, READ THIS BOOK.

I have to thank Alma for recommending the book. It totally changed my perspective about the level of fitness I can (and should) maintain during pregnancy.

*Seriously, the authors could've chosen nom-de-plumes that didn't sound like the punch line to a dirty joke... But I digress. The book is good.

Public Service Message from Captain Obvious: These posts are not intended to be a set of week-by-week pregnancy workout guidelines. Every woman needs to do what's right for her and her baby, with a doctor's guidance, of course. I'd just like to keep y'all up to date on how things are going in my little world.