Archive for December 2013

Traveling solo with an infant, plugged ducts, and a January Paleo Challenge

Monday, December 30, 2013

The past few weeks have been a complete whirlwind for me.  I can't believe that Christmas has come and gone and we are in the final few hours of 2013.

During the week before Christmas, I embarked on a journey to visit my family with my 8 month old son.  My husband couldn't get the time off work, so I had to travel alone.  On the way to visit my family, I wasn't really alone because two of my sisters traveled with me.  It was nice to have a few extra hands to help me carry stuff.  I was even able to carry everything on.  They helped keep B entertained when our flight was delayed.

On the way back, it was a completely different story.  I was alone in every sense of the word (well, except for having B with me) and on several occasions wanted to either scream at the top of my lungs how everyone sucks at life, or sit down and start crying in the middle of the terminal.  I have listed out a few lessons learned from the trip.  It might help someone out in the future.

1.  Check most of your luggage if you are flying solo with a baby.  I found this out the hard way even though I actually ended up checking my suitcase on the way back.  I still had a backpack, a diaper bag, blankets, a B.O.B. stroller, and a front pack (not to mention my jacket and B's jacket/hat).  No one would help me put up or take down my luggage from the overhead bins and even though they could see that I was struggling to hold the baby and reach overhead, people rolled their eyes and sighed loudly when I was holding up traffic from exiting the plane.

2.  Don't expect your baby to breastfeed on take-off/landing.  I tried to time things perfectly, but B was not interested in eating during the times that I wanted him to eat.  He wanted to squirm and look around.  I gave him his pacifier and that seemed to do the trick.  He never got too upset so I don't think he was ever really in pain from the pressure changes.

3.  Upgrade to business class, if you can.  The seats are wider and only 2 across (on my plane, anyways).  I actually sat in the first row, which was nice to have the extra space in front, but bad that I had to store everything above me.  I also got to check 2 bags for free, got free booze (didn't get to imbibe, unfortunately), and unlimited "snacks".  You also get on the plane first and off the plane first.  That is key.

4.  Bring a stroller & a front pack.  The B.O.B. is kind of bulky, but they will check it at the gate for free and you can use it to haul some of your stuff around if you keep baby in the front pack.

5.  Don't bring a bulky jacket.  Besides being a pain in the ass to get through security, you will roast your tail off on the plane when you are trying to restrain a baby when they are wiggling or when you are holding back your aggression towards a society of selfish people who watch you fall over while trying to handle a baby, a backpack, a diaper bag, blankets and a stroller.

6.  Get to the airport early.  You never know what sort of issues (ahem blowouts) you might need to deal with that could prevent you from making your flight.

7.  Bring a copy of baby's birth certificate!  They did not ask me for this on my departing flight, but they did for my return and they almost would not let me on the plane with the baby.  Luckily, it was Christmas Eve and the lady stressed how nice she was being by letting me go since I was returning home.  Phew.

8.  Beg for a gate pass for your spouse, mom, or other family member.  Another Christmas bonus that they "graciously" allowed us was a gate pass for my mom so that she could help me get through security.  I am not sure how I would have done it otherwise.  Seriously.  They say that they don't like to give these out and I guess I understand, but seriously, a mom with a baby, alone.  It is just mean to deny that.

9.  Fly in the morning.  The atmosphere is normally more stable = less turbulence.  If you are lucky, baby will sleep on the flight.  Plus, no one likes to be around a baby during the witching hour.  


One thing that my trip blessed me with was 2 instances of a plugged duct.  This is the same one that was plugged a few weeks back, on the top right breast.  I got one the day that I got to my Mom's and the day after I got back (stress much?).  Then it decided to plug up again, last night.  

I was able to get rid of it the first few times by sterilizing a needle and pricking my nipple.  Yes, that sounds disturbing, but after G.oogling the heck out of my situation I came to find out that there was a small white "bleb" or "milk blister" on my nipple that was causing the milk to back-up.  After taking a long hot shower and pricking my nipple ever-so-slightly, I was able to get the clog out.

Last night, neither the hot shower nor the needle worked.  I squeeze my boob so hard I am sure that I have bruises.  I cried.  I woke the baby up and attempted to feed him to unclog it.  NOTHING worked.  I was ready to jump out the window.  I ended up taking 2 ibuprofen, slathering my nipple in lanolin cream, taping a band-aid over it, and going to bed, resigning myself to the fact that I would wake up with mastitis.

The baby woke up at midnight and I decided to try feeding him again, only this time, I tried something else that sounded ridiculous when I had seen in on G.oogle, but I was desperate.  I laid my half asleep baby on my bed with his head pointing towards the head of the bed.  I leaned over him with my head facing the foot of the bed and let him eat that way.  His chin was pointing right at the clogged area.  Low and behold the plug was out after 5 minutes of sucking.  Sweet relief.  Thank you baby.

This morning I fed him again the same way at around 4:30 AM before getting ready for work.  After the feeding I slathered my nipple in lanolin and taped on another band-aid.  I am praying that this stops happening.  I really want to make it to 12 months breastfeeding.  3 1/2 more months to go!


Part of the CrossFit experience is following a paleo diet.  Right now, I am following a paleoish diet.  For the most part I don't eat much in the way of grain, except for my daily bowl of Barbara's Oatmeal Squares.  I don't eat any dairy and I don't eat any soy.  I stay away from most sugars, but eat honey, maple syrup, and agave from time to time.  I eat dried fruit at least once a day.

January at my "box" is the Paleo Challenge.  This is basically where you follow a fairly strict paleo diet for a full month and document everything.  There are actually cash prizes for the people who lose the most body fat/weight.  One thing I disagree with though is that they are allowing whey protein and not allowing dried fruit/honey.

Vegetables (no potatoes)
Nuts and seeds
Olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil
Sweet potatoes ok ONLY in a post-workout meal
Whey protein supplement drinks

Dairy (cheese, yogurt, milk, cream)
Wheat (flours, breads, etc.)
Processed foods
Grains (rice, couscous, millet, quinoa, etc.)
Legumes (beans [green beans ok], lentils)
Peanuts and peanut butter
Quest Bars, Perfect Foods Bars
Dried fruit
Fruit juices
Sugar and artificial sweeteners
Sauces, dressings (BBQ sauce, etc. b/c they contain sugar - ok if they don't - check labels!)
Maple syrup
Coconut sugar, date sugar

You are supposed to take pictures for the front, back, and sides of your body, get your weight and body fat measured, and keep a journal of what you eat every day, the exercise you do, how much you sleep, and how you feel.  So you guessed it, I am going to try to use this blog to be my journal.  You can all watch me torture myself in the coming month.  Hopefully it makes me healthier and doesn't make me lose my milk supply and start getting slower at running.

Happy New Year everyone!!

share this on »
1 Comment »

In better shape after baby?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The last time I seriously ran, since starting again post-baby, was in the winter of 2010.  The year of 2010 had been "my year"; the best year of running in my life.  I had gotten my 5k time down below 21 minutes (fastest being 20:51) and had gotten several first place age group finishes in local races.  I was running 35-40 miles a week and I felt great.  I was doing lots of structured runs, intervals, progressions, tempos, long runs.  It was great.  Life was good.  I don't think I had an ounce of body fat (ok, maybe an ounce).  

At the beginning of 2011, I started dialing back my training to around 30 miles a week and started getting "healthy" in preparation for pregnancy.  At that time, I had no idea how hard it was going to be for me to actually have a baby.  When I got pregnant so easily the first time, I had visions of jogging until 40 weeks and then getting into race shape the following summer.  We all know that those plans went to shit.  No one plans for a miscarriage.

Instead of continuing running, I cut way back after my first miscarriage and stopped racing.  I thought maybe my high intensity workouts had somehow caused my miscarriages.  Well apparently cutting back more, didn't help and I had another miscarriage.  Even though my doctor said the running wasn't what was causing my miscarriages, I still continued scaling back until I was barely running at all.  Ummm yeah then I had another miscarriage, at which time I was urged by various individuals (psychologists, acupuncturists, family members, & friends) to STOP running at all.  So I listened to them, thinking that they must be right.  I gained about 10 lbs and lost all of my cardiovascular shape and any muscular definition that I had left after scaling back so much.  Friends, I was miserable.  Mentally.  Physically.

Running has been a huge part of my life.  I started running when my parents moved me out of state junior year.  I joined the cross-country team to make friends and partially because my mom forced me to do at least 1 sport.  Since I wasn't very coordinated, I decided running would be my best bet.  I took to it pretty easily, although I could have tried a whole heck of a lot harder and been a lot better (in hindsight).  I liked running so much that I did track that spring.  Senior year of high school, I was the captain of both the cross-country and track teams.  Finally, something I was decent at that I liked!

During college I didn't run as much as I should because I was either partying or hungover (freshman year) or working (sophomore-senior year).  I ran to run off stress and to try to shed the several pounds that I gained from drinking so much freshman year.

After college, I started running more for exercise and to stay in shape.  At first I ran mostly outside because I couldn't afford a gym membership.  Then once my (now) husband and I got established and could afford the gym, I ran at the gym in addition to cross-training.  

In 2006, when my Dad passed away unexpectedly, I ran to stay sane.  I was sad, angry, and  confused.  Somehow, running helped me understand everything.  I would be pissed at the world, strap on my sneakers, and figure everything out while pounding the pavement.

I ran so much after my Dad died, that I decided that I could run a marathon.  I ran one marathon and then another from 2007-2008  I was logging a ton of miles.  I started getting burned out.  It was around this time that I started getting hurt.  Shin splints turned into a stress fracture.  I got runner's knee and then patella tendinitis.  I went to physical therapy.  I was told I had flat feet and got orthotics.  Then I got piriformis syndrome.  I was a mess.  My body was tired and broken down.  I took a break before starting back up after getting married.

In mid-2008 I started actually training again.  I started attending various running programs with a well known local coach.  He was awesome.  I made some really great friends and got better at running.  I changed my shoes and stopped always wearing seriously structured shoes and wore lighter weight shoes for shorter and faster runs.  By 2010, I was in awesome shape and, as mentioned, had my best year.

2011 through mid-2013 happened.  The good, the bad, and the incredibly ugly.  The body that I was left with in April was the epitome of out-of-shape.  Running was so hard.  At first running even for a minute left me completely exhausted and feeling defeated.  My body felt foreign and loose, like my organs (and boobs) were bouncing around.  Totally gross.  I started gradually increasing the length of my intervals until I was running a mile without stopping.  Then I started gradually adding incremental amounts of distance until I was running 3 miles at about a 10 minute per mile pace.  Depressing, yes, but better than not being able to run at all.

Once I got back to about 3 miles, I did something I shouldn't have and I started running with the baby in the B.O.B.  He was under the recommended age, but had good head/neck control.  I bolstered him with rolled up towels and ran only on smooth surfaces.  Running with that jogging stroller made my challenging 3 mile runs even more challenging.

Once I got comfortable with 3 mile distances I decided to do the next logical thing, train and run for a half-marathon.  Ha ha.  I'm obviously kidding.  Who does that, right?  Jumps from 3 miles, 4 months post baby to a half?  This girl, that's who.  I slowly worked my way back up to 10-12 mile runs with 2-3 other shorter & faster runs mid-week and ran that half-marathon in 1:46 (8:05 pace).

It was then that the race bug bit me, again, and I decided to start running some shorter races and work on my speed.  Between the half-marathon and now, I have run two other races, a 5 mile and a 5k.  I have shocked myself in those races.  The 5 mile I finished in 35:38 (7:08 pace), this was not far off from my 5 mile PR of 35:37 (ha one sec, but who's counting right?).  I finished my 5k in 20:59 (6:49 pace), which is not far from my PR of 20:51.

So what am I doing that has caused me to get so fast, so quickly?  Pretty much by doing everything that you aren't supposed to do.

-Running 3-5 miles at a time,4 days a week at the most, equaling less than 20 miles a week.
-Running most runs at an 8:30-9 min pace.
-Running mostly on the treadmill at zero incline.
-Not sleeping more than 4 hours at a time, consecutively, each night.
-Doing CrossFit 2-3 days a week.
-Being lucky to get in the proper amount of calories because I am always running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

While I was running in my last 5k race, I started to feel pain around 2.5 miles.  My legs felt heavy and my chest ached from breathing the cold air so rapidly.  I thought to myself, "This is nothing".  Compared to all of the crap I went through to get a sticky pregnancy.  All the crap that I went through during pregnancy, labor and delivery.  All the crap that I went through immediately following the birth of B.  Now that was real pain.  Running fast, pushing myself up and down hills and across a finish line...pssssh.  That is nothing compared to what I have put my body through over the past 2 years.

So to anyone who is thinking that they will never get back to where they were before they had a might not necessarily be true.  In fact, you might be able to come back and be better and stronger with less training (intensity/volume).  Mental toughness is half the battle and friends, many or you have been through the ringer.  Our bodies may not look exactly the same.  They may not feel the same.  We may have scars and changes that we don't necessarily love, but we have fought through, persevered and we have won.  Now we can whoop everyone's butts out on the race course.

Anyone else find that they are in better shape, post-infertility/loss/baby?

share this on »