Monday, December 31, 2007

Catching Up!

Sorry friends, I am just not myself right now during this first trimester. We're almost through the worst of it and I think I am starting to feel better. There hasn't been anything to post about because I'm not doing anything interesting to write about unless you consider laying on the couch with the dog and reading a book interesting. Likely not! I'm supposed to start feeling better in the next few weeks and I'm really looking forward to that time. Here are some photos from the past few weeks...

My parents drove over from Spokane with my sister for Christmas. This was a great relief to me because it meant we didn't have to travel to see family and that my mom would take over the kitchen and take care of me for a few days. There is nothing like a mother's care when you don't feel good. I felt a little bad that I had to nap so much but everyone seemed content to hang around the house watching football and goofy movies on the big TV. For Christmas I got Bill a wool jacket and a set of "professional" poker chips which meant we got to play poker until midnight (why did I do that?) My parents got him the required sweater and one of those electronic weather units, you put a small unit outside and the display inside and it tells you the temp outside and the temp inside. Neato! Of course I read the manual and set it up for him which leads me to Bill's gift to me...

Bill got me a wool coat (I know, we're matching and that is disgusting) and a heart rate monitor. I didn't help him pick out the HR monitor (I'm the tech geek in the family) and this is where he and I are hilariously different. After I read the HR monitor instruction guide I said, "Um, honey, it doesn't take splits." To which he said, "Why do you need splits?" This coming from a competitive triathlete (!?!) so I explained to my husband, who has qualified for the Hawaii Ironman twice, how you can record your HR and your interval time during your workouts. I don't think he cared about this "feature" but I think we'll take it back and wait for the new Garmin to come out. The Garmin connects to a satellite tells you your pace, time, distance, heart rate, and your splits should you care. What do I know though?

This past Saturday we finally made it out into our local forest, I felt like I hadn't left the house in months. We found some snow for our little friend to play with and it gave the dogs a fun place to romp.

Sunday we got out for a walk in the park with the dog and that was it for me. I'm still so dang tired, I spent the rest of the day reading "Pillars of the Earth" by Ken Follett. It's an Oprah book club selection which I typically avoid, her choices are usually overly dramatic for me, but this book intrigued me. Here is a little summary from Amazon:

"Set in 12th-century England, the narrative concerns the building of a cathedral in the fictional town of Kingsbridge. The ambitions of three men merge, conflict and collide through 40 years of social and political upheaval as internal church politics affect the progress of the cathedral and the fortunes of the protagonists."
Doesn't sound very interesting but it is, the writing is good, occasionally long winded (the book is over 900 pages) but I haven't put it down since Bill got it for me. I enjoy reading historical books and it's fun to imagine what living during this time in history must have been like.

One exciting thing from Sunday: the Patriots vs. Giants game! This past summer we went to a going away party for one of Bill's friends. He had been drafted by the Giants, he's from small town Oregon and was headed off to NY to see if he could make the team. Well he made it and the starter in his position got injured a few weeks ago and he played on Sunday and scored a touchdown for the Giants! It was a great game made all the better by watching this kid turn into a hero. It was really fun to watch and we're hoping the best for his future career. It couldn't happen to a nicer (or larger) kid.

I'll try to post more but to be frank, I don't feel like myself and I am prone to whining so it might be best for me to just kept to myself. Pregnancy does not become me, at least not yet.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Swimming and Early Pregnancy

Photos of maternity swimsuits available at There isn't a single suit in their maternity section could be used for actual swimming.

Almost as soon as the Dr. confirmed my pregnancy she began to discuss exercise and pregnancy. I think that with the obesity problem in this country there are good doctors who feel inclined to impress upon pregnant women that this is not a free pass to Fat Land. I'm pretty sure that my Dr. does not know I am a triathlete, she is an OB/GYN and I had no reason to tell her this fascinating tidbit about myself so when she said, "Swimming is great for pregnant women!" I said, "Great! I already swim with my husband in master's swim 3 times a week." She paused and said, "Wait a minute, do you race swim in this class?" to which I replied, "Yes, it is a competitive class." She pointed her finger at me and said, "No racing. You should not get out of breath or overheat while swimming."

I was relieved we had this conversation because I think the majority of doctors who tell pregnant women to swim are envisioning a slow front crawl with some side stroking or easy back stroke mixed in. I would bet 98% of these doctors have never seen a master's swim class let alone participated in one so their advice on swimming has to be taken with a big dose of caution for competitive swimmers. Good swimmers swim hard, that's how they got good, and it is nothing for a competitive swimmer to hold a hard pace for an hour or more with little rest and intense intervals throughout the workout. I am a wanna-be competitive swimmer and I do know how to hold a slow pace but I also enjoy pushing myself and doing a mix of easy and interval training. In a class of competitive swimmers it is difficult for me to watch my peers swim away from me when on a good day I would give them a reason to push the pace to stay ahead of me.

Since I am still in early pregnancy (the first 3 months) it has not been easy for me to pace myself or even get to the pool as much as I used to. I'm tired (I took 3 naps yesterday), I feel like I have the flu, some days I have cramps (hooray uterus expansion!) and my core muscles aren't as available for flip turns and kicking. I have had a few days where I felt good and swam a strong set only to find myself exhausted and feeling sick afterward.

Soon I will be in the 2nd trimester where it is rumored that I will feel better and have incredible amounts of energy. The temptation will be there again to swim hard so I will have to continue with self discipline and enjoy the journey of pregnancy. The journey will not be an easy one, look at these hideous swim suits, there isn't one you can lap swim in. The ladies in my master's swim class have offered their old suits so I can look forward to wearing see-through, baggy suits very soon. Some other joyful things about swimming and pregnancy:

-People stare at you. At first they are looking to see if you are getting fat and then they appear to be fascinated by any change in your body. If you see a pregnant woman or someone you think might be pregnant, please, do not stare at her in a swimsuit or coming out of the shower. I don't mind my friends looking at me but men especially, mind your own business, this isn't a biology tutorial. You want to see a pregnant woman, get someone pregnant and see if she'll let you look (I doubt it!)
-Hair grows faster when you are pregnant so you get to shave and then shave again.
-Hot showers make me nauseating so the treat I used to enjoy after the swim is not a treat anymore.
-Your tendons are more pliable to prepare for birth so there is increased risk for injury from overdoing it.

I know there are women out there who stay very active throughout their pregnancies and have no trouble at all. The risk for miscarriage is low once you get past those first vulnerable months so I think some active women push through the early sick time and keep up the pace as much as possible throughout their pregnancies. I admire their tenacity and resolve but this is not the path for me. Moderation is my key, I would never forgive myself for doing too much and having the Dr. prescribe bed rest or even worse, harming our baby. Hopefully, I will have many years to lead an active lifestyle, now is not the time to be superwoman. Hopefully it will feel good to let my competitive edge go now soon.

My plan to is continue to swim, walk, do yoga (at home), aqua jog, and snow shoe on occasion. That's enough for me. No two workouts per day or bike riding and running for me. For me, that's about right and sadly, it's probably way more than the huge majority of pregnant women out there. Who can blame them though, have you seen these swimsuits?

Friday, December 21, 2007

Cute or disturbing?

FYI, if you don't hear from me, I'm just trying to get through the day and don't have the energy for socializing or blogging. Things should be getting better for me in about a month, until then, I don't think anyone wants to read about my thoughts, they are almost completely focused on not getting sick and staying awake.

Last night Bill and I watched the movie "Four Minutes" about Bannister's attempt on the 4 minute mile. It was a decent movie and we enjoyed the DVD extras that showed the actual coverage of key races. I would recommend this movie if you are a fan of running or like to be inspired by stories of athletic achievement.

I woke up early this morning and turned on the light to find the cat and dog in bed with me. The cat and dog appeared to have been cuddling and they both kind of jumped up like I busted them. The cat was purring and they both looked a bit disheveled. It was kind of disturbing really.

I'm planning to write an entry about early pregnancy and exercise which will likely be the most useful thing I write in the next month or so. In the meantime...

Marshall helping me wrap gifts by warming his bum on the fire

Cassie in major chill mode onher favorite blanket

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

This is Looking Pretty Real Now Friends

We went in to the Dr. today for an 8 week pregnancy exam and everything looked good! Yeah! She did a quick ultrasound and measured the baby to be 8 weeks and 5 days and projected the due date to be July 25th. In the photo you can see the baby's bum at the upper left (inside the smaller dark section--the larger dark section is my full bladder which is a whole other story) and in the lower right part is the baby's head, if you look really closely you can see two plus marks where she measured, that is the baby. Bill saw the heart beat again today and he looked very excited about it, it's so nice to have him with me, normally we gals handle these things on our own but Bill is dealing with the women's section of the hospital just fine.

So I think I might actually be pregnant. For real. Because I am 35 they are recommending an "ultra screen" so next week I get to go in an provide 8 vials of blood for them to run tests on. I seriously think this could be a major catastrophe in my little world. I have passed out 3 times that I can remember from seeing my own blood and one time I cut my finger (just barely) and my mom had to rush me to the ER because I passed out and convulsed. I also peed my pants. I'm not kidding around. Of course I was a teenager then and likely anemic but 8 vials!!! I thought they were going to take it today so I drank a bunch of fluid so I wouldn't be dehydrated and make it even worse.

Once they do the blood work I go in for a more in depth ultra sound and they will use the blood work and the ultra sound to determine the likelihood of genetic disorders. Some disorders are terminal so we are not out of danger yet but we are looking good for everything we know now.

I am not feeling so good and really struggled to swim yesterday (nausea) and aqua jog today (more nausea) so I haven't yet found a type of exercise that doesn't make me feel sick. I'm going to keep trying. Well I'm off to go drink a banana smoothie, I couldn't eat the dinner Bill prepared for me so it's back to the bananas. :)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Holiday Madness

Just checking in so that no one is worried, we've been busy this weekend and I haven't had a lot of time for blogging. Friday and Saturday nights we had holiday parties and we have been Xmas shopping, wrapping, and baking and getting everything ready to be shipped on Monday (yikes!) I've been yawning my way through the weekend and might even be relieved to go back to work tomorrow. I hope your holiday preparations are going smoothly. I'll load some photos from the weekend tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sauerkraut and tater tots

Yesterday I had an intense craving for a Reuben sandwich and tater tots. I hate sauerkraut and I haven't had tater tots since I was 12 so that can only mean one thing: I really am pregnant. Profound isn't it?

We started a book called "The Perfect Mile" by Neal Bascomb and have enjoyed the first chapters. It's a recounting of three men (including Roger Bannister) trying to break the 4 minute mile record (for running). Back in the 1950s, around 50,000 people would attend running events. Can you imagine that? Awesome. The book also touches on Emil Zatopek who won gold medals in the 5,000, the 10,000 and the marathon at the same Olympics! They described him out doing a 20 mile recovery run after his 5,000 gold medal race. Here's a little profile on him:

Emil Zátopek

One of the greatest runners of the 20th Century, Emil Zátopek achieved legendary status when he won the 5,000, the 10,000 and the marathon at the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki.

"The Locomotive" or the "Bouncing Czech" as he came to be known, dominated long distance running from 1948 until 1954 when he won a remarkable 38 consecutive 10,000 meter races, including 11 in 1949 alone. He set 18 world records over various distances including every record from 5K to 30K, and won four Olympic gold medals and one silver.

He was the first to run a 10K under 29 minutes and the first to run 20K in one hour.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Fun Things

Photo of my friend Cathy wearing a fleece skirt I made her at a cyclocross race near SF. Cathy is one of the women that is forming Team Xantusia, the women's triathlon racing team. Soon I will have more updates on that, we are finishing up developing the web site and our mission. I've been pretty busy with work and so I think part of the reason I get so tired on the weekends is my brain is always running.

The holidays are a busy time for everyone and we are so fortunate to have family and friends to think of during this time but wow is it work! I've actually purchased gifts for about half of the people on my list, we don't have a ton of money so we're trying to be thoughtful on a budget and it has not been easy. I tend to take these things on to do all on my own but I realized today that my husband can do some of this stuff too so yeah! He has officially been recruited. If someone out there gets a funky present from us, don't blame me, it was probably you know who ;) Friday is the holiday party for my office and Saturday a friend is having a party. I think I will get some rest some time in 2008. Is January too late to send out holiday cards?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer

"Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer" by Lynne Cox is an inspiring account of a chubby girl who found her calling in life and didn't back down from it, even though her calling is swimming long distances in brutal conditions. I read this book over the weekend, it's a quick read with a casual tone and I guarantee you will be amazed at what this woman has accomplished. Loved this book, I hope you read it if you haven't already, it will inspire you to think differently about challenges and about people who pursue them. I can't think of many people more athletically accomplished than Lynne and will think of her often when I'm in an uncomfortable situation in nature. Read this, it is excellent!

Prior to this I read "A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson and I apologize now to all Bryson fans but I thought it was a bit weak. He sets out to walk the Appalachian Trail and let's just say there are more descriptions of the towns than trails and he doesn't stay true to his goals. He has a great sense of humor but this wasn't what I was looking for when I picked up a book about walking the trail. I should have realized that the size (small) of the book would indicate how far along on his journey he got. Sorry Bryson fans.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

It Snowed Today

I didn't blog Saturday because the entire day sucked, I had to push myself out the door to walk the dog and my stomach complained most of the way, I spent the rest of the day laying on the couch reading "Swimming to Antarctica" by Lynn Cox (love it!). I was determined that Sunday would be better and it was thank goodness. We slept in and got out around 10:30 am to get a Christmas tree. Since this is Christmas tree farm country, we were able to get one for $5 from a local youth group. Out of nowhere, it started snowing so the day became more fun and festive and I was able to keep my energy level up. I thought we need more ornaments so we drove over to Albany (there are literally no stores in Corvallis except Kmart that would sell a box of ornaments) and did a bit of holiday shopping.

Our friends are remodeling their daughter's room so we offered to babysit Samara while they wrapped up their work so our little buddy came over and decorated our tree for us. I told Samara she was pretty cool to be only 4 1/2 years old and decorating such a big tree. We had a blast with her, it was much more fun hanging ornaments with her. We fed her dinner and ice cream (shhh) and we played with the dog until her parent's came to get her, she didn't seem to want to leave and that made it even better for me. I think we're ready for kids. I've been doing a lot of complaining about how I feel so I hope people don't think I'm not excited or grateful to be pregnant, I am, it's just a rough road so far. I actually looked at baby and maternity stuff for the first time today and I am looking forward to a lot of things but I can say for sure that I am not looking forward to maternity pants. Yikes!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Joy to the World

Bill swam the 200 IM in 2:28 and I'm so nauseated I can't eat vanilla ice cream. Sounds about right doesn't it! I was happy this morning to hear some women from the OSU swim team were going to drop in on our swim workout today and put the hurt on Bill. In the end I think they all kept each other honest, he held their pace for the 50 fly (which surprised them) but they dropped him by the end of the first 25 back. Accomplished swimmers are so amazing to watch, their flip turns and push offs are incredible. You can tell many hours of practice and hard work have gone into each part of their stroke, to me it's like watching a dancer. Even though Bill met his goal for the 200 IM he must have felt slightly dissatisfied because he challenged the girls again for another go around on the last heat (which they declined) so he swam it alone in 2:29. I watched from the bench and then one of the curvy women in class offered me her old swim suits for when I get bigger. Great day for me. I need to go brush my teeth since I have the taste of stale Saltines in my mouth. :)

Thursday, December 06, 2007


I got home today and noticed our older kitty had a clump of white hair hanging out of her mouth, the same color and texture of hair from the younger kitty as a matter fact, apparently there was a bit of a brawl. Before you feel bad for the little one, yesterday I found her biting the older cat's head while the older kitty yelled, something the little one was able to do since she was laying on top of her and had her in a head lock. I think they are playing with each other but it's getting kind of crazy around here.

Today was good: Bill sold his Subaru Forester to a 16 year old young man who was very excited to be driving his first car. Bill told him to take good care of it and was happy to sell it to someone who would appreciate it but we are both sad it is no longer in our driveway. Bill had a lot of memories in the car before he met me and together we have very sweet memories, our first camping trip together, taking Marshall home from the shelter, moving all of our crap around to the many places we lived together. It's sad to say goodbye but we have new beginnings to be grateful for and a check that will help with the debt we've accrued while Bill was in school. So we can breath a little easier today, I'm going to do a big exhale now. ahhhhhh well I better go see what those cats are doing...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

PR! for Bill

Today was a great day for Bill, he PR'd his 100 free time by 1 second and is leading our swim class in our meet. His times so far:

100 Fly 1:06.9 (Monday)
100 Back 1:09.1 (Monday)
100 Breast 1:23.2 (Wednesday)
100 Free 0:58.7 (Wednesday)
Friday: 200 IM his goal is sub 2:30

I'm very proud of him, of course he is the biggest slacker in class, shows up late and takes a while to "warm up" but he always seems to pull great times. Very neat! Coach tried to get me to swim 100 free for time so I hid in the corner of the pool and was able to get out of it. The Dr. forbid me from racing so what would be the point of swimming for time? I swam 100s and 50s while everyone raced and had a fine time swimming by myself. I did miss it though, I have a bit of fitness lurking inside that would like to come out. I'll wait until I'm hugely pregnant and then show up for the last meet and try to swim fly. In a bikini. HA HA!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Stormy Weather

Photo from The Oregonian newspaper. I think we're through the worst of a winter storm that hit the NW this past weekend. There were hurricane force winds, flooding, and high surf on the coast and there were some power outages. Here in the valley we had non-stop rain for 2 days and high winds but the only effects we saw was a severe case of cabin fever in our animals. I walked a block to the post office yesterday and got soaked despite having an umbrella. I feel sorry for our new neighbor that just moved here from the east side, I told them that even though it rains here it often clears up at some point during the day so you can get outside. (Yeah right)
Tuesday is President's coffee at the university, it's a holiday open house and they serve lots of yummy treats and good coffee. I might have to skip it, I can't drink my beloved coffee anymore. I tried this weekend and despite a good effort it wouldn't go down. I also skipped the first part of our swim meet yesterday, I did the warm up and then swam in the cool down lane while everyone else did a 100 fly and 100 back for time. Just a little depressing, not bad though. I think the weather is about to clear so no worries, we'll get out for some good exercise with the dog soon. Hmmm, what's that dark cloud doing?

Sunday, December 02, 2007

How Low Can I Get?

I woke up this morning, ate cereal, and talked Bill into making cinnamon rolls while I watched "Project Runway" on the couch. Shortly after eating the deliciously warm cinnamon roll, I passed out on the couch and woke up an hour later with a fork jabbing me in my side. Yes, I napped with a fork and it didn't bother me one bit, I'm sure it will get lower than this. I'm so tired, when I let myself rest I'm done. I'm still able to eat so I can't really complain but I did have to go buy some scent free lotion today because anything with a perfume scent makes me sick. Perfume is wretched to me right now. blah!

Another thing that makes me queasy: the Oregon Duck's football helmets. I don't think it's pregnancy that's causing the ill feelings here, those helmets are just ugly. At least the Beavers beat them in double over time this weekend. That made me feel better. Not much else to report, we did a lot of hanging out and sleeping this weekend. Very wonderful and not exciting!

p.s. I thought the Ironman Hawaii coverage on NBC was great although it would have been cool for them to feature the female swimmer who led most of the swim only to be overtaken by a drafting male at the end.