Louisa: Weeks 40 & 41

Week 40

It was a low-key sort of week, as both kiddos got a cold that kept us huddled in. I’d feel bad about them getting sick, except that it’s the first illness we’ve had all YEAR, so at least that’s something. Nico got a number of colds and viruses in his first year, so it’s pretty incredible that Louisa managed to go 9 months relatively germ-free.

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But the cold did mess up sleep routines, and while he slept more, she actually slept less – her daytime naps were all over the place and quite short; except for the massive restorative nap she had that pretty much cleared her sinuses and made her better.

Nico’s cold still lingers while hers is pretty much cleared up; but that’s normal – she’s breastfeeding after all, so she’s getting all those amazing live white blood cells to power through the illness.

(hah, sorry for the PSA-type sentence there, I just think about it all the time, especially when they’re sick, how amazingly fortunate we are to have been able to breastfeed so successfully).

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Anyway, that’s that for week 40.

Week 41

This week has been all about MORE! More teeth (the two top front ones), more smiles and giggles, more awareness and interaction with Nico, and MORE movement! This girl is on the go!!

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Louisa seems tall to me, but maybe that’s because she now spends most of her waking hours standing up. She loves the new vantage point, and she’s pretty able when it comes to cruising. She can walk with the assistance of Nico’s Thomas or her high chair, and I feel it won’t be long before she’s walking on her own. She just wants it so badly, you know?

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Update: We went to playgroup today, and Louisa took her first unassisted step there!!!! OMG, I can’t believe my 9 1/2 month old “walked” all on her own. She is completely comfortable standing on her own, and she has been practicing stepping for a while. Finally it all came together and she showed off her moves at playgroup. Hooray!

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As for food, I think I mentioned this before, but purees are a thing of the past. The girl wants to eat what we eat. It’s made mealtimes super simple, and now that Nico’s on board to eat what we eat (which is working out maybe 65% of the time)  we’re feeling some relief in terms of meal prep.

But sleep, that one still evades us. Louisa had one of the worst nights of her life this week (but maybe it’s related to the walking breakthrough? Who knows). I just wish we could get past the 2.5 hour rut that we’re in. I know she can sleep for longer than that, but she just… doesn’t. It’s very hard.

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Aside from our wakeful nights, life with Louisa is super delightful. She is animated and active, loud and funny, happy and warm. She pulls me close with her hands and gives me huge open-mouth kisses. She crawls up to me and nuzzles her head into my chest. She babbles all the time and loves her brother’s antics.

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Basically, she’s super fun.

2014 Fall Colours Half Marathon Race Recap

Again this year, the Fall Colours run was met with PERFECT weather and foliage at its peak of autumn awesomeness.

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My game plan: On my last training run, I ran 7km in just under 40min, and that felt *right*. So I decided that I would break up my half marathon into three 7km chunks, and try to run each one in 40min. That would give me a final time of exactly 2:00:00. I also told myself that if I ran one of the 7kms slower than that, that I would NOT attempt to make up the time in the other thirds.

Race Day: I went to bed early the night before, and I managed to cobble together 7 hours of sleep (not altogether of course, but still, more sleep than I’d had in a while) and I happily followed my regular race morning routine. I drove myself down to the race (in Cumberland, about 20 minutes out of town) with what I thought was plenty of time to get there, park, and find my race kit and make it to the start. But then I ran into this:

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I got to the Cumberland town limits at 9:05, and I didn’t park my car on the Museum grounds (2.5km away) until 9:45am. The cars were chalk-a-block and not moving. Runners were all popping out of their cars and heading to the race on foot, but I couldn’t do that since I was alone. Then it took me a while to find the race kit tent, and once I had my kit, I had to run back to my parked car to stash it, so that when I finally made it to the start line, it had been FOUR WHOLE MINUTES since the race had started. Boo!!

1 – 7km

My first kilometre was really fast, because I was so mad that I’d started late AGAIN. Not only that but the 10km racers started right after me, and so I was getting passed on all sides by the speedy 10kers. When my Garmin beeped on the first km, I looked at it and saw I’d run it in 4:30. MUCH TOO FAST! I texted Angelo what had happened, and he sent a text back telling me to check my mental game and that I was only racing against myself. It was just what I needed to hear.

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I dialed it down for the next few kms, focusing on each upcoming runner, and methodically taking them over without accelerating too much. I prepared myself for the mental challenge ahead. I also slowed down a few times to catch a snapshot of the vistas whenever they were particularly spectacular. After all, the appeal of running this race are the beautiful colours of the changing leaves!

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I ended up running the first 7km in 36 minutes, which is pretty fast, but I was also happy to have a bit of a buffer in case I needed to slow down near the end.

8 – 14km

By this time I was feeling a lot better; I had gotten over the fact that I started late, and the weather, the scenery, and the texts back and forth with Angelo really made the run enjoyable. I had overtaken quite a few runners by this point, and the 10km racers had already turned around, so there were fewer people on the road.

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When I got to the halfway point, I felt a little bloated and waterlogged. I had slowed to a walk at each water station, but all that water was just sloshing around my stomach and making me feel a bit queasy. I walked for about 30 seconds just after the turnaround, and waited for my stomach to settle a bit.

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I started running again and felt okay, but worried that the second half of the race would be catastrophic. To keep from panicking too much, I forced myself to stop thinking about the race and look up at the trees and countryside. I fell into a nice rhythm after that, running kilometre after kilometre listinening to the sound of my race bib flapping against my racing belt. The sound became super meditative and hypnotic, and the whole world seemed to shrink away while I put one foot in front of the other.

Angelo also sent me a super sweet text from the kiddos: “Go mamma! Go mamma!” and it brought a smile to my face!

15 – 21km

Around this point I came upon a couple of runners, one with his hand on the other one’s back. I thought that he was trying to coax his friend along through a rough patch, but as I got closer, I realized that it was actually a blind person running with his guide. They were running at my pace, so I stayed behind them for a good 3 or 4km. It was amazing to see them running together, so in sync, with such subtle gestures to guide away from obstacles. There was also some serious camaraderie between them, and I felt really lucky to be running behind such disciplined racers. I totally credit them for my finish time, since they kept me at a steady, sustainable pace for the most of the last third of the race.

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But, inevitably I was bound to hit a wall, since I was pretty undertrained for the distance, and it happened at the 19th kilometre. I had walked through the last water station, and was finding it harder to start running again. I got a bit of a trot going but when the course went uphill, I just couldn’t. I veered off to the side of the road and slowed to a walk. I was pretty dejected, and it must have shown on my face, because just then a marathoner was running towards me, out for his second loop on the course. He said to me: “Keep going! You’ve still got a great time!” and it really boosted me up.

Finally I came upon the last big hill and though I wanted to run the whole way up, my legs had other plans. They were filled with lactic acid, and all of a sudden it was like they were made of cement. I lagged hard and found myself walking yet again, but just up to the top of the hill. Then it was just a matter of making it around the victory lap on the Museum grounds, where there were plenty of spectators cheering and whooping. I had nothing left for a sprint of any kind – not even enough to put on a brave face for the photographers. I was just spent and looking to be done.

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I crossed the finish line at 2:04 and I was pretty happy with that. It was a little strange to be done and not have anyone to talk to and no babies to hug. I found those two runners I’d followed and thanked them for being my pace gauge. Then I grabbed a bagel, my race t-shirt and headed back to the car.

I tried to drive away but my leg and foot cramped up pretty badly as I tried to step on the accelerator and brake. I had to pull over and give it a nice long stretch before I could head back home. But I drove home with the finisher’s medal around my neck, proud to have run my second half.

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Results:

Chip Time: 2:00:23
Clock Time: 2:04:33
Place: 119 out of 250
Gender: 47 out of 138
Category (F35-39): 5 out of 18

Louisa: Week 39

Louisa is exactly 9 months old!!!

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She’s definitely enjoying the age, developing her mobility and communication all the time. She’s got a few new party tricks, too: along with her waving, she now points her finger and claps her hands. She also likes to stomp her feet when she’s standing, and cruises along the furniture at a pretty good clip!

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She also babbles a LOT, and in turn so that we can have “conversations” together.

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And she is getting so much better at standing unassisted. I catch her practicing all the time, on whatever piece of furniture is at hand. She can stay upright for 10-15 seconds at a time, and it’s only improving with each passing day.

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She’s been teething this week, unfortunately, so it makes for frequent nighttime wakeups, and added crankiness, but one of her top front teeth is now through the gum, with the other one close behind, so that’s all good.

She also continues to be a great eater. She’s pretty much over purées, which is kind of a bummer because there goes my batch food prep, but she just prefers to eat foods in solid form.

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She’s also started interacting with Nico a lot more. There’s definitely some fighting that occurs between them, he’ll shove her away from his toys, and she’ll scream at him, but there’s also some really sweet moments too: she loves to crawl around the room with him (they take turns “chasing” each other), or when he zooms by on his toy Thomas. It’s really cute to hear them laughing together, and to watch them get along. I just wish it happened more often!

The other big development this week is that I’ve FINALLY started fixing up her bedroom. Louisa’s crib is in our room, and she still spends the majority of her nights in our bed, but it’s nice to finally have her room look like her very own space, instead of a drab storage room. I’ll have another post when it’s all done, but here it is freshly painted:

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So that’s it for this week. The weather is supposed to turn cold next week, so we’re going to try to take advantage of any nice days left outside. Then it’s all about hunkering down for the upcoming cold season… Sigh. :)

Louisa: Week 38

It’s so true, y’all: development, at least when it comes to babies, is all about taking one step forward and two steps back. It’s so easy to remember only the milestones (“she’s sitting up”, “she’s crawling”, “Teeth!”, “She’s eating solids”, etc.) but the truth is the experience is so much more complex and nuanced than that.

Louisa this week took a huge step forward. She’s so much more aware and engaged. She does things that she knows will get a response from us (whether it’s smiling or waving, or even just making a funny face or noise) and she always puts herself where the action is.

But sleep took a sharp turn for the worse this week (and it was already pretty bad to begin with). In fact, Louisa woke so often to nurse throughout the night this week that last night my milk supply went into overdrive at around 7pm. I couldn’t believe it, I was leaking all over the place, breasts fuller then they’ve EVER been with her, and it didn’t stop till the wee hours of the morning. The body really is an incredible thing, and that it can respond so quickly to Louisa’s new “schedule” is nothing short of remarkable. Of course, it’s definitely NOT a precedent I want to set, since I’m trying to get her to take her calories during the day, but…

Just before bed, while I was reading Nico his bedtime story and Louisa was quietly playing on the floor of his room, it happened. She finally did what she’d be gearing up for all week: She pulled herself up to standing, and then after making sure her footing was solid, she let go of one hand, then the other. She stood there, suspended with arms outstretched, for a few seconds, and then slowly she bent her knees and lowered herself to sitting.

Louisa stood all by herself for the first time on September 26, 2014.

She did it a couple more times before she tired herself out, and then went to sleep and only woke the usual 3 times (as opposed to the 6+ times that we had suffered through this week).

PS. I feel terrible that there are NO PHOTOS from this week, but I really wanted to write a little something about the week anyway. I’ll make sure to pull out the real camera and have nice photos for next week!

Training – Half Marathon #2

I don’t know exactly when I signed up for the Somersault Fall Colours Half Marathon, but I’m sure it was long enough ago that I had assumed that surely BY NOW I’d be getting more sleep and opportunities to run longer distances.

Yeah, assumed being the operative word.

I have had a really hard time training for this race. Louisa is still waking multiple times a night, and I just haven’t managed to figure out how to incorporate running into our busy routine. And since my training plan was somewhat aggressive (going from 0 to 21 km in just 8 weeks) every time I skipped a run, it became even more difficult to tackle the progressively longer runs that followed it.

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My most prized possession these days – all hail the coffee maker!

My initial plan was to run fast/hard on Tuesdays (anywhere between 4k and 7k), run an easy 3k “junk” run on Thursdays, and run my long-slow-distance on Saturday (or Sunday). It seemed like the best way to get adequate mileage while still being realistic, given that I’m the primary caregiver for two small kiddos.

But Louisa’s terrible sleeping, our hectic afternoon/evening routines, and other summer related activities just conspired against me.

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Hard to get out and get my runs in when cottage season is so short.

To date, my longest run was a 10km back on September 7. My pace over the past few weeks has oscillated between 5:10 and 5:45/km and I’ve had some residual lower back and knee issues. Nothing significant, but things like babywearing Louisa the day after a run leaves my back screaming, and my knees make a lot more noise when I go up the stairs (though no pain – thankfully).

I should probably be doing more stretching/strength training to help my back and knees, but for now I’m really just going to focus on getting a good 15km run in before the race, and hope for the best.

My loose goals are the usual for me: keep good running form throughout the race, walk through all water stations, and come in under 2:10:00. We’ll see how it goes on Thanksgiving morning.

Sigh, I think the thing that bugs me the most about my “return to running” is that it has never more felt like work. My Garmin accompanies me on EVERY run, I’m ALWAYS focused on time and distance rather than the run itself, and I choose uninteresting routes just because I can’t be bothered to care about the experience of running.

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But last night I went out for an after-dinner run and while I knew I wanted to run 7km, I hardly looked at my watch while I was on the road. Instead I just enjoyed the sunset and let my mind wander. It was really nice, and helped ease some of my bad feelings associated with running lately.

But you know what’s really cute? Nico sometimes asks me if I’m going out for a run. It’s awesome, because it’s parallel to him asking Angelo about bike polo. He’s making the association between me and running, and I love that he sees that as a fundamental part of who his mom is. Anyway, it’s a sweet little perk that makes me want to keep it up, even through this slump.