Friday, March 27, 2015

All Things Considered

It has not been my week – for so many reasons.

Miles has been sleeping terribly. I have been sleeping terribly, if at all. The external version, which left me battered and bruised, did not work. Today, at my 37-week appointment, I scheduled my second C-section.

There have been other things, too. Things that I can't share here, in such a public place. They aren't life changing or earth shattering but during this week, they felt like it.

And so I've spent most of my waking hours in a mindless fog, teetering on the edge of crying and screaming. Sometimes falling into the pool of emotions, no matter where I may be.

But, on Thursday, I received a gift. It was unexpected. Beautiful. And exactly what I needed.

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I was able to run. It wasn't fast nor far but my heart pounded, my body sweat, my mind cleared. For 42 minutes, I was able to put distance between myself and the thoughts clouding my brain.

I wasn't so sure I had another run in me. It had been six weeks since I had been sidelined by piriformis syndrome and as recently as two weeks ago, I couldn't even trot to keep up with Miles on his tricycle. A step with any acceleration triggered the pain in my right glute, and I immediately slowed to a walk.

But on Wednesday, I was trying to cross the street to get to my car after work. The break in traffic was small and, without thinking, I jogged to the opposite sidewalk. I didn't realize what I had done until I was opening my car door. I had ran, in ballet flats, without pain.

Could I do it again?

After a rough night, I knew I needed to do something for me. I dropped off Miles at daycare and headed to the Y. The game plan: Walk a 10-minute warmup on the treadmill and do a version of my favorite workout – 1 minute intervals with 2 minutes rest. I would jog the intervals at 5.0 and walk at 3.0.

I was nervous when I hit the button for the first interval. What would it feel like? Would I be able to do it? Even if it didn't hurt, where was my fitness at?

It seemed like it took forever for the belt to speed up. I needed it to hit a running pace, to see how it would go. And it went ... I mean there was an awareness there but it was tightness from weeks of sitting. It wasn't pain.

I was so focused on mechanics that by the time the clock hit a minute, it barely felt like I had done something. I decided that I would change the interval, at least this time, to 2 minutes running and walk 3 minutes. But a good song was on, and I felt strong. When I saw the display go from 1:58 to 1:59 to 2:00 ... well, I just couldn't stop.

I would at 3 minutes, though, I told myself firmly. I hadn't so much as jogged 30 seconds in 6 weeks and here I am at 37 weeks pregnant. Let's be real – and safe, yo.

I repeated the 3 minutes jogging interval, with 2 minutes rest, four times. My workout was at 30 minutes, and I figured that I could do 40 and sort of make it to work on time. For the fifth interval, I'd jog until I couldn't and then cool down.

But the cool down never came. I just kept running, to quote Forest Gump. The feeling in my butt changed but never grew and my gait never changed. My arms swung, my breath deepened, my gaze turned sharp as I looked through the floor to ceiling windows at the downtown traffic.

At 42 minutes, I pressed stop. I had hit 3 miles, running the last 1.02 or 1.03 – maybe a bit more. I wiped my brow and clumsily reached for my locker key. A sip of Nuun. A deep breath. I steadied my hands on the rails and stepped down.

I waited for the pain but all I could feel was elation. For 42 minutes, I had felt like me. I had found her underneath the belly and the boobs, the bitterness and frustration. She was still there. No matter what happened, and lawd did things happen, I had that to hold onto. To pull me back.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

From Market to Market {This Week's Menu}

My menu was set. My groceries were bought. Heck, they were even put away. But one little Facebook message turned the week's plan upside down.

I had won a $25 gift certificate to the Ft. Wayne's Farmer's Market. It was $25 to spend on whatever I wanted – and not what I needed. Boy, they sure do know the way to a girl's heart.

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The market is set up inside at the minor league baseball stadium, and vendors sell a variety of goods. I saw freshly baked sourdough, small-batch roasted coffee and homemade jam. There were farmers selling organic meat and eggs from coolers, and artisans peddling jewelry and soaps.

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I was impressed to see a number of hydroponic growers who had fresh vegetables. I certainly wasn't expecting to see that on a dreary March morning in Indiana. I nabbed some fresh celery that was thin and delicate – not the least bit stringy. You could seriously rinse it off and just dip it into peanut butter.

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The bright green, tender leaves of the spinach and herbs made me long for summer even more – something I didn't think possible. (Note to self: After our final snow tomorrow, I need to get some spinach in the ground. Fresh vegetables will be a great treat when paired with some of our freezer meals.)

But there was one booth that left me not just longing for more but begging and buying.

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Cheese. Fresh cheese!

Clearspring Acres sells any kind of cheese you would want – cheddar, Swiss, Muenster – and varieties that you never thought of, such as Swiss Rye, horseradish, roasted garlic.

Roasted garlic cheese. Roasted. Garlic. Cheese.

I took one bite, and I knew I had to get some. It was creamy, flavorful and had just the right bite. It would be great on its own, with crackers, in an omelet, on a grilled cheese, I noted to myself.

And that's when the pregnancy genius kicked in. I could make grilled cheese, bacon and tomato sandwiches for dinner with this cheese. Forget the Buffalo chicken and turkey meatloaf!

My meal plan was gone, and cheese was in.

The week's menu:

Sunday: Rigatoni with Turkey Sausage, Peppers and Onions (using fresh basil from the farmers market)

Monday: Super simple slow cooker salsa pork (I used 8 ounces yellow tomato salsa I canned this morning with a one-pound chunk of pork loin. I cooked it on low for 8 hours.)

Tuesday: Grilled cheese, bacon and tomato sandwiches

Wednesday: In-law's

Thursday: Slow Cooker Barbecue Pork