Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sick Day

I'm still sick, I haven't worked out in a few days, I'm chomping at the bit and a bit crazed because of it, of course. Somehow, though, I am managing to keep myself on the right side of sanity. Just.

I took the day off work today, though I did a lot of work from home with Raf watching much too much Peppa Pig. I justified his viewing because he can now say 'George' (one of the characters in the cartoon) and points to the ducks and says something not really approximating 'quack quack'. Oh, and he loves to dance when peppa dances, bounce when they all jump in muddy puddles, and does a lot of pointing. All of this allows me to believe that watching TV is a good learning opportunity for him.

But mostly I've sat on the couch, tapping on my laptop in between playing with Raf. I washed nappies, made Raf lunch, made tea and let Raf watch Peppa while he ate it (I know, I know but I was too nauseous to eat dinner and Rich was out). I walked the dogs, felt weak and uncomfortable. Indeed even my mouth hurts. All my teeth. I don't know what that means and what;'s going on but it's kind of miserable. And I even managed to get some assessment stuff done, too... as well as sort of appease a difficult someone (need to be vague here).

OH, I also spoke to several banks about mortgages, which honestly makes me super anxious for reasons I can't quite pinpoint. I always feel like a deeply immoral person when it comes to money, and lots of guilt for some reason. We're not even big spenders, either, but there is something in this culture - or at least how I've been socialized into it - which makes me tremble as I think about my credit score (and FWIW I am too scared to look at it.. for no good reason!),

I also had some time today to think about what our plans are for the year. We're moving - all being well - and that's actually a great relief for us all. I'd also decided to do the Pumpkinman 70.3 in September. With the summers off, just research, I'd have time to get in the needed long rides - leaving at 5, returning at 9, spending the day with Raf and working for parts of the day. But you know what is even more important to me, right now, is having another child. Not that we're trying, but it's becoming apparent that another child is really what I want.

I spend so much of my day thinking about how much I love Raf. I walk around saying how much I love him, When I go to bed in a little while, I'll lie there with him and Rich (who's upstairs now putting him to bed), and I'll inevitably exclaim "oh, you're such a great little boy. You're so good. I love you so much".. and on and on, even though he's asleep. When I'm with Raf I spend much of my time close to tears thinking about how lovely he is, thinking about his little legs that bend when he dances, about his little head that shakes from side to side as he listens to his favourite music.

I am so lucky to have him. And I know i turn into a cliche when I write about him, about how there is nothing quite like the connection between a mother and her child, and, mercy, I am an embarrassing cliche, but I suppose this is who I now am. I didn't grow up in the most demonstrative house, and neither did Rich, and yet I simply cannot help myself!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Note to Friday

I should have posted yesterday following a good night's sleep (first in many a month.. or even years), an early morning swim, and a lovely day with Raf, which was topped off with a bike ride outside in shorts. Instead I am writing post-meltdown, after an awful night's sleep, after missing my swim, after the nanny texted to say she couldn't come, after realizing that it's the final day of spring break and I am not even remotely caught up, not even out of grading prison THREE weeks on. I realized that I have yet to touch the assessment document I should be working on, let alone looked at the tenure file I should be assessing. I then realized that the dishwasher was not really working, that there was dog pee on my office floor, and that, ohmygod, we are probably selling our home in the next 2-3 months and we have yet to find a house, work out our financing.... and, worst of all, I simply cannot get a swim in today - a swim that might very well save my sanity.

I desperately want this day to turn around. Please turn around, Friday. You are the pits thus far.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

on confidence

Ah, Spring break has at long last arrived. I will need all of it to catch up on grading, admin, and more, but frankly it's wonderful to have the breathing space, and it's also wonderful to spend time with my lovely boy. But this past week has been a real test, with many moments of self-doubt.

Am I putting too much time into training... Are we making big mistakes with Raf's sleep... Could I be more assertive at work... Will I ever be decent runner... Is Raf's language development really lagging... Should I buy a new bike when we're planning on moving... How many stupid, stupid things did I say to our real estate agent, builder, students, Rich, Raf, friends, comments on DM and FB... and thus the list goes on.

One thing I just have to be mindful of - across the mothering, academic, sporting terrain - is that my state of mind constantly works to undo me. It's not as if I am a particularly negative person. I am happy, I believe my future will be happy, I am generally not too cynical (politics are the exception!), I hold others in positive regard (you know, within reason!) but my thoughts about myself can spiral downward so very quickly.

I feel most confident as a mama. I've surprised myself with the patience I've discovered, especially as this is not a trait I'm necessarily known for. Raf still nurses a trillion times a day (10-15 times.. and that's actually no exaggeration), he is up a lot in the night, he likes to be cuddled and held and he is super attached. We practice very gentle parenting so we work hard to avoid situations where Raf might be vulnerable to tantrums, and we're attentive as we could possibly be.

Today, though, was a lesson in how my mind has the capacity to undermine my precarious sporting-confidence. We all set off for a long run. 12 miles on the schedule... I've been working really hard this past two weeks, especially with swimming, and yesterday, following a 2.5 hour spin and a quick 2 miles off the bike, my legs were very tired. This morning I wasn't feeling the running love, but off we went.

About .25 miles in I knew it would be hard, and no doubt I made it much, much harder by dwelling on that fact. It didn't help that I was pushing Raf every half mile. It was brutal. We stopped for water, for gu, for any reason, actually, just so we could stop, moan, and carry on... At some point my asthma kicked in and I got really cross. I was pushing Raf, which made it worse, Rich and I were squabbling - stupid, silly stuff - and then I suddenly stopped - got really cross, rowed with Rich a bit more (how embarrassing!) burst into tears and ran off with Raf for half a mile. So many negative thoughts about stopping, about not being able to continue.. so many undermining thoughts.

This was mentally and emotionally such a truly difficult run. I reminded myself that a run like this will serve me well in my half ironman, but, gah, I wish I wasn;t my own worst enemy. When I read my DM friends' updates and blogs I'm always slightly in awe of the self-confidence I glean from their posts. I don't know if it's sometimes a cultural difference - with most of my DM buddies being from the US - but I'm always struck by it, and then imagine myself writing some of the same words, and it feels so foreign. Yet I bet it serves people well!

But, on a positive note, I have had another good week of training with 2 longish swims, 3 runs, and 3 rides. I skipped out on a row and another swim because of time, but it was confidence-boosting to at least be (mostly) on track.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

This weeks attempt at balance

This past week has been utterly crazy. I don't think I've spent one evening with Rich. Either Rich is working late, in class, or he's fallen asleep putting Raf to bed(!), or I'm working late, at appointments, and so forth. The weekends haven't been much better. Rich is at his practicum site Saturday mornings, and I spent a lot of time grading papers this past weekend. I'm really hoping things calm down soon. Spring break is on the horizon, and thank goodness as I need some time to catch up.

OH, how life has changed since I've become chair.

But despite the busy week I managed to get a lot of training in, mostly doing a lot of early morning sessions and sneaking in swims at work. Before last week I wasn't using the college pool at all, instead I was going to another college pool down the road from where we live. I don't know why I didn't head to my own college pool before now! The hours are better, I can nip there before breakfast, at lunch time, or just before I leave to go home. As a result I actually managed to get in every planned swim last week. This is pretty phenomenal for me! With my swim today, I've actually swum more in the first week and half of March than January and February combined.

And today I actually enjoyed my swim!

Mind you, Raf was up, literally UP, at 1:45am so it was a long night. I headed to work early to get some grading finished but nipped to the pool beforehand. Dare I say that I actually enjoyed my swim? I really did. I think that I just need to make sure I get to the pool on a very regular basis. I don't think I'm ever going to be a brilliant swimmer(!), but being half decent would be wonderful.

So that's all going quite well.

Whilst training hasn't really detracted from time with Raf (early mornings, late nights and lunch time workouts), work has certainly gotten in the way of time with my little chap. Oh, work, work, work. This is one of the first times where I've felt quite resentful and overwhelmed by work. One of the lovely things about my job is the brilliant flexibility, but the downside is that this great flexibility means that I often work weekends. Poor little Raf has really suffered this week, I think. As regular readers of my poppet blog will know, Raf is not the best sleeper, but just lately he is wanting to nurse almost all of the time... and so much during the night. At first I thought he might be teething, but now I think he is just wanting some cuddle time to make up for the time I'm not there.

I get to spend the morning with him tomorrow, which will be lovely, and also most of Friday so hopefully things will get a little easier.

Friday, March 4, 2011

work, work, work

I work really hard to find some balance in my life. I try to make my job 'just a job' so that I have time for other things which, frankly, seem much more important. My family, especially since Raf arrived, has been the center of my life. I try so hard to keep perspective, to wonder how I'll feel in the future if I missed out on parenting, and I weigh this up against how I imagine I'll evaluate my career down the line. It's difficult for me to envision that I'll regret not working more, yet, yet, yet...

Today I had one of those days of radical self-doubt. Sitting in a meeting with a lot of overachieving women (all academics) I found myself feeling despondent. Despondent by my lack of published books (I really should have at least 2 books out by now), my apathy toward college politics, and my sense that I may have committed academic suicide by remaining at my current institution. And then there are the doubts I have about myself as a Chair of a department, my inability to focus in on detail, my propensity for procrastination.

And then there are the many comments I receive from colleagues, who wonder, very loudly, how on earth I workout as much as I do when I am Chair and have a child. The implication is usually that I must not be working hard enough - at least that was the sense I got today. I'm a pretty sensitive sort of person, with very thin skin, and so of course I immediately felt as though I just really need to stop this triathlon business, to dedicate myself, instead, to research and publishing and chairing. Of course I tell myself that this would not be balance, that my life is not 'work', that I am 34, tenured, published, and so forth, and that I HAVE worked hard. But you know how it goes.

Then, today, I was 'friended' by an old college friend on Facebook. The first thing he asked was if I was still a cutting edge scholar. No. No, I'm not. Not even close. I have lots of projects and none of them are going anywhere fast. I was sick- VERY SICK - when pregnant, and with raf research has just taken a back seat. And that is how I responded. Inevitably this is a college friend who is doing amazingly. he's a judge. Our other friends include famous politicians, well known scholars and lawyers. And here i am, the one who graduated the top of her class, the person that people predicted would go far, and, yes, here I am.

I returned home from work early today as Raf has a bad shoulder, and I felt the stress of all of this coursing through my body. This will pass, I know, but I am definitely in a work funk.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

February Stats

Not awful, especially as work is crazy and we were away for a few days making training much more difficult.

Total time: 32 hours and 43 minutes
Running: 57 miles
Cycling: 15 hours and 36 minutes
Swimming: 2 miles (no snickering... there's clearly a reason why my swimming is so bloomin' awful!)
Rowing: 23 miles

Goals for March:

Closer to 40 hours
Running: over 80 miles
Cycling: 20 hours
Swimming: (hard not to beat February's awful effort) 8 miles
Rowing: 40 miles