NIAW-National Infertility Awareness Week

So, other blogs I read have been letting me know that it’s infertility awareness week. I’d guess I qualify as someone who can speak on that topic, so I’m going to. Partially because I feel woefully inadequate to comment on numerous other topics, including but not limited to: whether to circumcise your son (sorry, Jen, I just don’t know!), how to potty train a toddler, when to quit breastfeeding, or a myriad of child related topics that seem to crop up all around me.

Babies are everywhere. EVERYWHERE. In the grocery store. In all my friend’s bellies. Mothers are pumping at work and kids are all over my gym. And that’s great. Procreating is what many people see as the reason we’re on this earth. Just ask the Duggars. So does that mean that those of us who were medically excluded from having kids were deemed unworthy to carry on the species? Does it mean that our genes are inferior, not meant to survive? I hope not, because I feel awful that I was unable to give my mom a grandchild, to carry forward a piece of my dad, that I’ll never get to look down and see a bit of my Grandpa’s smile coming back at me from the baby in my arms.

The thing is, and I’ve said this before, I think I always knew I wasn’t meant to have kids. As a young adult, I said I’d make a horrible parent. As a thirty-something single girl, I told myself that by the time I found “my person” that I’d be too scarred from endometriosis to actually get pregnant. Then I found Jeff, but it also became apparent that surgery every 10 or so months was totally inhibiting our quality of life and brought obstacles to our new marriage. So we made the choice that said we valued my health over any future plans biology may have had for us. That we could adopt one day. That we had so many other things to see and do in our future, we wouldn’t want to have children. I watched the fertility nightmare my friends were going through and it scared me. So we cut the scary part out. A machine with lasers and a doctor with precision removed the thing that was causing me pain, and we went on our way. Recovery was hard, and required patience, but physically we made it.

But it’s so easy to forget that there’s another side to the story. That by being sterile, you feel like you don’t have a voice in 75% of the conversations around you. That your schedule should bow to your coworker’s schedule because they have kids to work around, while you just have a running obsession and a husband in college. That you might end up on your couch on a work night at 8:00 and realize that you don’t have anything to do, that things will never change, and you’re going to spend the next 30 years of your life just hanging out and surfing the web because nobody is going to need changed or put back to bed after a bad dream. None of that’s a bad thing, but it’s a different thing.  Several times a day you’re reminded of your uniqueness, to reinforce your decision, to rededicate that the choice you made was right. And sometimes, inevitably, you feel a wrinkle of doubt that you’re in the right.

The thing is, we’re not alone. Whether by choice, by necessity, or by loss, there are so many people out there feeling the same things as you. Like you don’t belong. Like your choice makes your life “less than”, that your choice is strange or abnormal. But it’s not. I was rendered infertile by disease, but I was made sterile by choice. I chose happiness of a different kind. I promised myself I’d see the world. That what my friends spent on braces and daycare, that I’d spend on travel and wine.  I’m so excited to see the world, piece by piece, that I can hardly stand to be patient. But I forgot one thing: to forgive myself. It’s not my fault that my organs were overachievers and wanted to create tissue at super speed. That choosing my health was the right call. That different does not equal less than. That I may not have given life, but that I’ve helped raise life, and that my brother contains no small part of my influence within him. That I have things to offer. That I have value. That maybe incision scars are just as much war paint as stretch marks. And lastly, that nobody can make me feel inferior without my permission. And this girl doesn’t sign permission slips.

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She can get awful mean…she’s cranky!

Bonus points and lifelong friendship to anyone who gets the blog title movie quote of the day.

So, just not feeling much like blogging this week. Work’s busy. I’m annoyed that every day seems to be rainy, crazy windy, or a combination thereof, relegating me to the dreadmill like a hamster on his wheel. I gave up today and actually finished the second half of my 10k in the rain and wind because it was better than being on that damn machine. And I’m spending my evening hanging out on the couch alone while Jeff’s upstairs working on homework. Surfing the net is fun and all, but I feel like I should either be cleaning something, running errands, or asleep. Maybe I’ll just have more wine…

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Five Things Good Friday

Happy Good Friday everyone! I’m not a big Easter person, so we have no plans this weekend. But to those celebrating, have a hollow Easter Bunny Ear for me! 

Now, on to our 5 glorious things! 

1) Did a trial half marathon yesterday….CRUSHED IT! 1:51:14. I couldn’t believe it. So ready to rock the race May 4. AND, check out these glorious splits: 

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2) I have been having a really good week at work-I’ve taken on some new responsibilities and some things have come along that have made it just a lot better for me. Then, this morning sucked. One of those days I couldn’t get anything right. Then, our boss’ boss comes over to my team and has a talk with us about overtime-the upshoot of which was that I’ve been ordered to leave work early today! So I’m cutting out in about an hour. This day totally turned back around! 

3) My cacio e pepe the other night turned out GREAT. Will totally make it again-and not even much I’d change about it, which is saying something. 

4) Now that I’m leaving work early, all I can think about is curling up on the couch with a bowl of popcorn for lunch and watching the season finale of Scandal.Then I *may* take a nap, then it’s off to run my last 6 miles of the week and enjoy the weekend! 

5) That fifth thing always gets me. Well, I was pretty amazed by this last night: 

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That’s one way to use what your momma gave you! Have a great weekend, everyone! 

The next best thing to being there!

What was the best meal of your life? Does Grandma’s Thanksgiving dinner come to mind, or that mind blowing once in a lifetime restaurant experience, or the first time your significant other cooked for you? Mine’s easy: the last night we were in Italy. We went back to the restaurant we’d had dinner at the first night-just a couple blocks from our B&B. The food was amazing, the atmosphere adorable, and was so quintessentially Italy. I had Cacio e Pepe, a simple dish with amazing flavor. Tonight, I’m going to take my first stab at recreating that dish at home. Here’s the recipe I’m going to start with: 

Cacio e Pepe quick and easy one-pot meal made in less than 20 minutes!

Ingredients: 

 

  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 16 ounces bucatini pasta
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • dash of garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper, freshly ground (more if you’d like)
  • 1/2 cup pasta water
  • 5 ounces grated parmesan cheese

 

  1. In a large pot, salt water for pasta (at least 1 tablespoon). Cook according to package for about 8-10 minutes until al dente. Before straining bucatini, reserve at least 1/2 cup of pasta water. Strain pasta.
  2. In the same pot add olive oil, dash of garlic powder, and freshly ground black pepper. You will want at least 1 tablespoon of freshly cracked black pepper; however, if you want more feel free to pepper it up! Cook the mixture for one minute on medium heat.
  3. Add pasta back to the pot along with the half-cup of water. Mix well then begin to add the Parmesan cheese. Reserve a few tablespoons of cheese for topping.
  4. Divide pasta in four large bowls and top with additional Parmesan cheese and black pepper. Buon appetite!

I’m going to half everything so we don’t end up with a ton of pasta-I think this probably isn’t suited well for leftovers. And Jeff and I like to use recipes as a starting point; we’ll definitely use fresh garlic instead of garlic powder. I kind of can’t believe we’ve waited this long to try and replicate this dish; maybe the sting of the “honeymoon being over” was too fresh. But I think this is something I can make fairly well; I’ve had a few foodie failures lately. My alfredo? Broken and sad without all that fat. My beef & bean burritos? Bland. Poor Jeff’s going to waste away if I can’t get it together in the kitchen soon! At least my pizza was a win the other night, and I have a feeling if I keep baking (which IS my forte), he’ll be just fine. :-) I had to switch around my mental plan for my run distance today-was going to be long run day, but homegirl’s not trying to hit half marathon distance in 25 MPH winds. So I’ll save the long run for Friday and hit 6 miles over lunch with boot camp after work if I can muster the energy. I had one of those “wide awake for hours” nights last night and cannot stop yawning at my desk! 

And finally, because I can’t stop with the silly animal memes lately…

 

Mileage Monday

I’ve decided Monday will be my day to check in on how the previous week’s running went, and set a very loose goal for the upcoming week. Last week had some highs and some lows, that’s for sure: 

Monday-Great 6 miler. Somehow I managed to fly through it in 51:42-it was a gorgeous day outside, one of those runs that makes you happy. 

Tuesday-Speedy 4 miler since I teach classes for 2 hours after work. Clocked in at 34 flat-I’ll take an 8:30 pace! 

Wednesday-This was HARD. It was our first really warm day, or at least the first one I’ve run during. It was around 80 when I struck out, and it just got to me. I ran through about 4.75 miles outside and headed in to wrap up my last 1.25 on the dreadmill for a total of 6. I was a lovely, sweaty mess just in time to teach my bootcamp class that evening. Hey, at least I didn’t dirty two sets of clothes! 

Thursday-This is when it all fell down. I was out on my 12 miler and feeling pretty good. There was a bit of soreness in the first half, but I made my normal potty break around 5 miles and when I struck back out I felt fine. And then my knee gave out at 9.2 miles and crushed my soul. I tried to stretch it, walk around on it, and start back up again 3 times before I gave up and called Jeff to come get me. That pain was like a burst of heat followed by a poker in my knee. The weird thing, though, is that…

Saturday-11 miles no problem! No pain, no doubt that I could do it. Just trucked right on through, didn’t look at my Garmin, and was totally excited to see I kept an 8:45 average. 

Total: 36 miles for the week. 

This week: Mileage around the same. I already pushed through 6 miles of speedwork today so lots of good, slow, long runs this week before I need to pull back before my half May 4th. It’s getting closer!

And to make this post interesting to a non runner…here’s an inventive kitty. 

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How did that even HAPPEN?

Thank goodness, my knee issue seemed to be a freak thing. Was still sore on Friday, but by yesterday I was dying to get out on the path and run again. I cranked out 11 miles with no knee issues, and it felt fine afterwards too. Success! Thank goodness I managed to go yesterday-we have a gloomy, rainy day on deck here. As a matter of fact, there is some wicked thunder, lightning, and rain coming down right now. 

A few odd things happened during my run yesterday-some cool, some not so great. One of the major intersections on our bike path system used to have a water fountain, but it got removed when they were doing some work on the underground pipes. Some nice soul put out a cooler full of water and cups for everyone. There’s about 3 weeks to go until Lincoln’s Marathon, so lots of people were getting in their last long runs before the taper yesterday, and water was pretty necessary. I passed lots of smiling, waving runners-and a few who looked pained. But the weirdest thing…chaffing. This wasn’t normal stuff, either. I was getting ready to take my shower after my run, and OUCH! Looked down, and somehow my belly button and stomach had a big red welt across them! I think that one came from my hydration belt, but that’s never happened before. I also had one in a quite unusual spot-I think my heart rate monitor must have been a bit askew. One of “my girls” has a red dot of pain! How does that even happen? So weird. Ah, the life of a runner. 

While I was running, I made a conscious decision to try not to look at my splits and just run by feel. If I felt like I needed to slow down, I did, and if I felt like I could speed up, I did. After I got home and checked my times, I was pleasantly surprised. I averaged out at 8:46 per mile! If I can do that during the marathon or better, I’ll totally PR it. YES! 

During my run, I had alternately been dreaming of a giant sandwich and a chicken topped salad. Got home pretty exhausted and decided I didn’t feel like cleaning up and going to grab a sandwich. BUT, the salad I was dreaming of had gone to work with Jeff the day before. Got inspired and just made a sweet potato with some salsa on top and the chicken. It hit the spot, and I promptly took a quick nap. Got up, took my shower (yes, I couldn’t even be bothered before my nap to shower), and set off to do the normal Saturday junk-yardwork, errands, the usual. Except I ended the day by being this awesome: 

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Homemade pizza AND chocolate cupcakes.

Today’s rain isn’t motivating me to do much. Did manage to un-Winter my closet and Spring/Summer it up. Will probably get bored later and organize something else, but in the meantime, I think it’s time to do this: 

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Happy Sunday! 

I’ve been hexed!

So, I was out for tonight’s long run and feeling fine. Hit mile 9 of 12, waved to the kids at our fast food restaurant yelling and waving at me, and stopped at a stoplight. Started back up, and felt a flash of heat and some serious pain. Tried to keep going, but within 50 feet realized I was in trouble. Stopped, stretched, and tried again. And again. Finally gave up and called Jeff to come get me. Sitting on my couch icing my swollen knee and lamenting the fact that I couldn’t finish my run. Seriously-I’d get up and gut through it now if Jeff wasn’t on the couch next to me watching for just such a jailbreak. I always seem to suffer a training setback within the month before my goal race; just hoping I can get out of this ice pack and back on the run by tomorrow.

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Your Wife is Like A Rollercoaster Baby, Baby…

Ever have one of those weekends? I have been a whiny emotional mess since Friday night. I was all bummed because I realized how much less time Jeff’s going to have for me while he’s studying. And that’s cool, but it’ll just take some getting used to. So I was a whiner. I may have even cried and not known why. I was basically this cat: 

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Saturday was pretty cool. I got to bike my errands, had popcorn for lunch which never makes me sad, and got to go help my friend Jen assemble baby accessories and organize a billion onesies. She’s less than a month from baby and it’s super exciting! Jeff and I are going to be the best aunt and uncle ever to not be related to a kid. That evening, I got to go out for tapas and sangria with a few of my favorite ladies. I got all emotional on the way home because a) Jeff was still out and b) some of my old friends all went out without me and after a few glasses of wine, that just bums you out. It’s extra silly, because I’ll admit there’s times when I’m like this: 

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But I digress. And that dog is creepy. So Sunday dawns, and I’m cranky again. Jeff sleeps in later than I do on Sundays, and by the time he gets up I’m halfway through a pot of coffee. There may have been a bit of hangry. I can’t help it! Once we had brunch, neither of our tummies were feeling well, so we came back home and may have napped (me) or laid around for a bit (Jeff). But then I got up and dominated some serious house cleaning. Went on a walk, where about 4 awesome things happened to me: so many flower buds poking up! Saw the cutest toddler ever in her stroller. Can’t be cranky when a small child yells “Hiiiiii” at you. Saw this adorable big brother teaching his little sister to ride a bike-running alongside her and all. AND….

I’m going to New Orleans! My aunt is going for work in May, and she offered last night for me to come along. She has a wonderful hotel in the heart of the fun stuff, and while I was on my walk I surfed travel sites and found round trip tickets for $320. That’s nuts! I had to do it. Jeff will have to stay here and hold down the fort, but he really wanted me to go. It so happens that May goes like this for me now: Half Marathon Sunday. Massage Monday. Fly to New Orleans Tuesday. Fly back Friday. That Sunday? We’ve got tickets to go see Wicked! I’d say I’ve got a pretty good May lined up for myself-I better PR that half and really earn all that fun! 

So I’m decidedly less cranky now. Jeff’s upstairs cooking dinner, dogs are chilling at my feet, and I’m dreaming of beignets and cajun food. Last week, I ran 35 miles-and 27 of them were on treadmills. SERIOUSLY. I don’t even know how I lived through that. Hoping for similar mileage this week, but decidedly less treadmill miles. Our weather looks decidedly better this week, thank goodness. Now go make next week your bitch, people! 

Question for my runners-if I’m not committed to anything more than a half marathon currently, what’s a good place to kind of level out my weekly mileage? I’m starting to think around 35-40 may be enough for me, at least for now. The hotter it gets in NE, the harder it is to run consistent distances outside without melting. 

Question for my foodies and travelers-where do I have to go in New Orleans? Most of my time is going to be all by myself, since my aunt is going for business. I plan on getting some good books loaded onto my Nook, walking until my feet are sore, and eating all the things. What do I need to eat/see/do? 

**And to Jeff-sorry I was such a basket case this weekend! I promise at least 50% less crazy next week.