September 27, 2010

Some Assembly Required

When my daughter, A, now age 4, came home from twelve weeks in the NICU, she also came home with a g-tube (feeding tube) in her tummy. It came with a lot of equipment (pump, bags, IV pole, syringes, etc) and required a lot of care (cleaning the site, putting gauze around it to soak up leakage, etc). My mother remarked that A came with "some assembly required".

She did not know how true those words would become.

A month after coming home from the NICU, A went back into the hospital to get a tracheostomy. THAT came with a lot of equipment (catheters, suction pumps, mist machines, nebulizers, etc) and required a lot of care (suctioning mucus, changing the trach, etc). We very much had to "assemble" our daughter every day, making sure that her g-tube and trach were well taken care of and that we had plenty of supplies on hand.

A month after getting her trach, at the age of 5 months, A got her hearing aids. We chose pretty one (purple aids with pink molds) but even pretty hearing aids require care (testing the battery daily, cleaning the molds, etc).

At this point, it wasn't a joke anymore that A came "some assembly required". She truly did!

When she was 2 years old, and still not walking by herself, our physical therapist helped us get a gait trainer (walker) for her. This enabled A to be upright, instead of crawling, and walk with assistance. It was big and bulky and cumbersome, but she loved being able to walk around at school with the other kids.

She needed shoe inserts at this age, too, to help correct the way she was stepping.

Also around this time, A's opthamologist recommended that she wear glasses. Not really for correction; her vision is not near- or far-sighted. However, A has coloboma, meaning that she has gaps in both of her optic nerves. Her left eye is legally blind, which means that we need to protect her right eye as much as possible. Plastic glasses offer a lot of protection, so even though I didn't want to add ANOTHER device to my daughter's body, we got the glasses. I really want to protect what she has.

So, by the time she was 3 years old, my daughter was the ultimate in coming "some assembly required". She had a g-tube, trach, hearing aids, glasses, and a walker. At times it seemed I was caring for a 90 year old, not a toddler! At the height of her needs, we had to lug with us: her portable feeding pump; Pediasure and a bag to put it in; extension tubing and syringes for the g-tube; her suction pump for the trach; tons of extra catheters; an extra emergency trach and trach ties; plus scissors, paper tape, gauze, extra hearing aid batteries, and various sundry other items. This doesn't include the emergency kit I always had in my car with even more extra supplies, including an ambu bag for CPR and oxygen (thank God I never had to use either!)

Slowly but surely, some of her assisted devices have dropped away. She began to walk unassisted earlier this year, and had no use for the walker (in fact, I just gave it away to a family who needed one but whose insurance company wouldn't provide one). And of course she got her g-tube and trach removed this past July. Now we only have her hearing aids and glasses, two devices she will likely always need. Compared to what we had been dealing with, this is nothing!

I feel so grateful for all that we DON'T have to do for A these days. We are lucky that most of her devices were gone by age 4. I will never forget the "old days"...lugging equipment, making sure all of our devices were being fully charged overnight, hearing the loud sounds of the mist machine at night. But all of those devices, all the tubing in her body, saved her life. She would not be alive, or thriving the way she is, without them.

September 22, 2010

My 2011 Race Calendar

Last night I realized that I would not be able to complete my "Plan A" of half marathon races in 2011. My original plan was to Triple Crown. The Triple Crown is a medal that you get if you finish 3 half marathons (Carlsbad, La Jolla, and America's Finest City) within one calendar year. I was set to do those three, plus possibly run the Disneyland one again, and those would be my 2011 races. I am already signed up to run Carlsbad on January 23, and although I was dreading La Jolla (those hills are notoriously killer) I really wanted the Triple Crown Medal.

However, I looked at the calender last night and realized that I am not going to be able to run La Jolla! I have a family function on the same day, and family always comes first. I was very upset, as this put a huge damper on my race plans for next year. However, now I have my "Plan B"...I will still get my 3-4 half marathons in (which is important to me, as I want to keep a base of 8-10 miles for my long runs in order to keep myself bone-healthy).

So, here is my new proposed half marathon schedule for 2011:

Carlsbad Half Marathon in January
Rock 'n Roll San Diego Half Marathon in June
Disneyland Half Marathon in September
Silver Strand Half Marathon in November

That gives me my half marathons, and I will also be signing up for a few triathlons (assuming that I enjoy them; my first one is in a week and a half!) I am thinking of the SuperSeal and San Diego International Triathlon, both of which are about double the length of the sprints I'll be doing in October, but which may give me a challenge to work toward (and keep me heart-healthy!)

Of course, all of this depends on me staying injury-free. Right now I have a sprained foot and a hurt shoulder, making running and swimming out of the question. I have a doctor's appointment in a few days to assess the situation. Working out is supposed to make me healthier, not hurt! But I have faith I will heal, and I am looking forward to these new challenges I have set for myself next year. And in 2012, you can bet I'll be working toward that coveted Triple Crown medal!

September 20, 2010

Triathlon Training Update!

As I recently posted, I completed the AFC Half Marathon in August and the Disneyland Half Marathon three weeks later (you can click the links for my race recaps). My next two challenges are coming up quickly: my first ever triathlon, on October 3, and a DOUBLE triathlon on October 30.

The double triathlon is new. It's the inaugural year for the race; fitting that it's taking place in Mission Bay, which is actually the birthplace of the first-ever triathlon. I got an email about it last week, which talked about the race and it's unique swim/bike/run/swim/bike/run format. When I got the email, the first thing I thought was, "that sounds like fun!". I guess that shows just how addicted to the sport I've become, even though I've yet to actually do my first tri!

Training has been a bit rough. I had injured myself before the Disneyland Half, and was worried about running it. As it turns out, I was pain-free throughout the race, and even set a personal record! However, as soon as I crossed the finish line my foot started to hurt again. I went a few days later to Urgent Care for an x-ray, which showed no fracture; the doctor said my foot was sprained. In these last two weeks, I've remained non-impact....I still exercise every day (or almost every day) but I am swimming, biking, and substituting the elliptical machine at the gym for running. Additionally, after my last swim on Friday my left shoulder is hurting me. I feel like I'm falling apart!

Injury aside, however, my training is going well. My swims have improved about 1000%! When I first started to swim (back in June) I could only do a few laps, and took many rest breaks in between. Now I can do 30 laps (60 lengths there and back) non-stop. Most of my stroke is free-style, but I do throw a few lengths of side-stroke in as a "rest". That is about 3/4 of a mile that I'm swimming, non-stop! What an improvement from when I started just a few months ago!

My biking has improved, too. When I first started biking in June, I hadn't been on a bicycle in about ten years, and could barely do a few miles. My longest ride so far was over 21 (hilly!) miles. Much improved. The uphills are still hard for me, but I feel like I'm getting stronger and stronger.

And my running? Well, I haven't run in two weeks, but I know I can do it...I just did 2 half marathons!

My first triathlon is a sprint: 1/4 mile swim in Mission Bay, 15k bike ride (about 9 miles) and 5k run (about 3 miles). Clearly, you can see that I've overtrained for the individual events, and theoretically should be able to do each leg with no problem. The tough part will be doing everything back-to-back-to-back (or, the in case of the double triathlon, back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back!) The double triathlon lengths are even shorter: 250 meter swim (about 1/8 mile), 5 mile bike ride and 2 mile run. But that will be a lot to do.

I'm hoping my foot and shoulder get better soon! I want to do the best I can, and racing injured or hurt won't be fun. I'm looking forward to giving a race recap in a few weeks!

September 16, 2010

How Music Proved Medicine Wrong

A friend of mine on Twitter, Barbara, posted on her blog that she is having a "blog carnival". She challenged her friends to write a post "about the place of music in the life of your child." This is a no-brainer to me; music plays such a big part in my life, and the life of my two children. I could easily write a post about how much we love music; about the Mommy-and-Me music classes I've taken with both kids; about how I rarely play "kid" music in the car but instead play them "Mama music" to expose them to what I love to listen to; or about how soon I'll be starting D with some kind of music lessons, perhaps on piano or guitar.

Instead, however, I will write about how music let me know that my daughter, A, isn't completely deaf.

As I wrote about earlier this week, A has profound hearing loss (is practically deaf) in her left ear, and has mild-to-moderate hearing loss in her right ear (she has normal hearing in her right ear with her hearing aid). When she was in the NICU for 12 weeks, she failed her newborn test. She then had further testing (the BAER and the ASSR) and we were told by the audiology department that she was completely deaf.

This not only devastated me, but confused me. You see, not only did A seem to respond to my voice, but she also seemed to respond to music. I had brought in a portable CD player, and would play her music every morning and every evening. Some of the music was classical music from the Baby Einstein series, but I most often played her my favorite band--the Beatles--in the form of a CD called "Bedtime with the Beatles" which was instrumental versions of Beatles songs. She always seemed to respond when I put the music on.

When I told the audiologist this, she responded that A probably felt the vibrations from the CD player, and that was what she was responding too. But I knew better. The CD wasn't in her bassinet; it was on the counter behind the bed. She couldn't feel the vibrations. I KNEW, in my heart, that she heard the music, at whatever level she was able to hear. I just knew she wasn't 100% deaf.

Of course, further testing showed that I was right. She WAS hearing the music. Music was the key to me advocating for further testing. To this day, A loves music. Every time a new song comes on the radio she asks what the title is. She likes to "dance" to the rhythm in her carseat. She enjoys banging on our piano and playing on our child-sized drum set. I am so glad that A can hear, because I get to share with her one of my greatest pleasures in life: the joy of music.

September 15, 2010

Mama's Boy Fading

My son, D, is a cuddler. Even at age 6, he loves to give me snuggles and hugs, and lets me shower him with millions of kisses each day. Last year, in kindergarten, I would volunteer once a week in his classroom, and when I'd walk in he'd shout "Mama" and come over and give me a hug. I loved his uninhibited display of affection for me. I savor it, because I know that one day this won't be the case.

Now D is in 1st grade. This week I took him to school for the first time (since the first day of school, that is). Usually my husband, J, takes him to school, but he is unable to this week. The first day I took him this week, I asked for a kiss good-bye. D suddenly looked uncomfortable, took a step back, and shook his head "no". I was surprised, and a little sad, but waved him off to go play with his friends.

Today when I asked for a kiss at school, he gave me one. And later, when I walked into his classroom to volunteer for the first time this school year, he again shouted "Mama!" and was happy to see me. Whew! I am not sure how long he'll want to give his mom a kiss at school, or think it's great for me to be in his classroom, but I'll take it for as long as he give it.

Here's hoping for more kisses, snuggles, and uninhibited gleeful shouts of "Mama!"

September 11, 2010

Once Again, Thrown For A Loop

With the start of school this past week began A's school-based therapies. Since the school district is closed all summer, the last few months she only had physical therapy and speech therapy--both once a week--at Children's Hospital. This past week we re-started speech therapy, physical therapy, adapted physical education, and a new therapy for us: deaf/hard-of-hearing (DHH) therapy. This new therapy was added in May during her yearly IEP. (We will soon be starting occupational therapy at Children's Hospital, and possibly at school, as well. Can't have enough therapy, can we?)

I should probably give some background on A's hearing loss before I go any further. When she was in the NICU, she failed the newborn hearing screening several times. She was given further tests (the BAER and ASSR tests) and we were informed that she was deaf. As it turns out, she is not deaf, but rather deaf and hard-of-hearing. Her left ear only has a thread of an auditory nerve, so for all intents and purposes she is deaf in her left ear. However, her right ear shows a mild to moderate hearing loss, and with her hearing aid in she has normal hearing in that ear. At least that's what we've been told. I have always been grateful that she has normal hearing in one ear, with that aid in. In fact, odd as this might seem, I never really think about A as being deaf/hard-of-hearing. She seems to hear so well that I usually forget about it!

So yesterday was our first ever DHH therapy session through the school district. Last year, she did have a DHH specialist, but he was only consulting; he would come to her school to observe once a quarter, and that was about it. No therapy. I didn't even KNOW about DHH therapy back then, or I would have requested it. It was brought up during this past IEP in May for the first time, and I jumped on the opportunity to get more help for my daughter. All I knew was that it would help her "listen"....nothing more was told to me.

This particular DHH therapist was highly recommended to me when I took A for a "second opinion" audiological exam in April. They used to work together, and I was assured she is the best in the school district, which is why I requested her. That particular audiological exam upset me very much, and I really appreciated what the testers had to say.

The first thing the DHH therapist did was check her hearing aids to make sure they were working properly (they were). Then she played with A and some Fisher Price Little People, trying to get A to talk. After getting a language sample, she commented on how A is omitting certain words and sounds---all at a certain frequency. She rarely says her "s", "sh" and "ch" sounds, and even in speech she is dropping markers for certain words ("a", for example). I always assumed that she wasn't making certain sounds because of her complicating factors: not only is she hearing impaired, but she also has a paralyzed vocal cord, she had a cleft lip repair which makes her upper lip not as pliable, and the tracheostomy she had didn't let air get to her mouth.

However, the DHH said that when kids drop sounds and words like this, the first thing to be looked at is the hearing aids. She believes that they aren't programmed correctly, and that they need to be turned up in some frequencies (she is basing her opinion not only on experience, but on reading her audiological results and listening to her aids).

This upsets me to no end. You see, A has been followed by an audiologist--who I trust--since she was a few weeks old in the NICU. She gets tested (both aided and non-aided) twice a year. She also had a DHH specialist come once a month when she was in the Early Intervention program, and she had a DHH specialist last year when she aged out of Early Intervention. It's not like I've been living in a cave....we have seen many, many hearing specialists. IF what this therapist is saying is true (and we don't know yet if she's right or wrong) that means for the past four years my baby hasn't been hearing to her potential. She's been hearing well, but not well enough, not as well as she has the capability to hear.

Understandably, I am upset and angry. How can all this be missed over the past four years? However, the therapist assures me it's not too late. If the aids DO need to be adjusted, she is still young enough that her language is still forming. And she has come so far.....her vocabulary, sentence structure, use of pronouns and prepositions....everything has just blossomed this past year, and even more in the past 2 months since she got her breathing tube out. Imagine how much more she'd be doing if her hearing aids were boosted?

So, where do we go from here? The therapist is going to email our audiologist at Children's Hospital this week. If our audiologist thinks the therapist's theory has merit, we'll make an appointment to go in to get the aids reset. And, the therapist might be wrong. We'll find out soon enough. I guess it's not that big a deal, A is hearing just fine. It just galls me to think that she might be able to hear better (and therefore SPEAK better) and no one has told me until now.

This is why it is is important to ALWAYS advocate for your child...and why it's hard sometimes, when you don't know what you don't know.

September 8, 2010

A's First Day of Preschool!

Today was A's first day of preschool. Not the first day of preschool ever--she has been at the school for the past two years--but the first day this year. She is now in her last year of year she'll go to a district-run pre-K program and then on to kindergarten!

I love A's school. As I have mentioned before, it was not my first choice; my first choice was the preschool through our synagogue, where my son, D, went. However, they were not equipped to handle her needs (at that time A wasn't walking, talking well, and still had her breathing and feeding tubes). And I didn't want to send her to a special day class; I really feel she doesn't need that, either. This school, however, has an amazing inclusion program, and were thrilled to accept her. It is through a local church, and is so highly regarded in the community that people put their kids on the waiting list to get in as soon as they are born. No joke. Most of the kids that go to preschool there are typically developing. However, they take kids with needs of various kinds, too. A win-win situation for everyone.

We had already visited the class twice in the past week. Once was for their meet-and-greet for all the kids to come and see the classroom, and once was a one-on-one meeting with A's 3 teachers to let them know about her needs, teach them about her hearing aids, etc. So when we went today, A already knew where she was going. She marched right in, and barely gave me a hug and kiss goodbye. Other kids were crying and didn't want to separate from their parents, but not A! Four years old and already Miss Independent.

Before I left the classroom, another mom came over and introduced herself. It turns out that her daughter also has hearing loss, and wears aids as well. And another child (who we know from last year) is in a wheelchair. So out of 16 kids in the class, I think there are 3 with some sort of need.

I love the inclusion program. Here is a poignant example of why inclusion is so amazing...and this just happened today. A doesn't drink out of an open cup. She needs a straw, so she uses a sippy cup with an attached straw. We do have some Doidy cups for her, which are teaching her to drink out of an open cup, but she barely even likes those. When I picked her up today, her teacher told me that she used a regular paper cup to drink her water at snack time. She noticed all the other kids using them, and wanted one too. AND SHE DIDN'T SPILL ANY!! Being with typically developing peers is so good for her. This is just one small example, but I think it gets the point across of why it is good for A to be at a school with an inclusion program.

I am very excited about this school year, and will savor it. It is my last year ever having a child in preschool (sniff, sniff!)

September 6, 2010

Disneyland Half Marathon Recap!

Yesterday I completed the second of three races I signed up to do this year: the Disneyland Half Marathon. I was nervous about doing it, as I had been sick and injured this past week, but as it turns out I had nothing to worry about. I finished, happy and healthy, with a new personal record (PR) to boot!

I drove up to Anaheim on Saturday morning. An old high school friend lives in the area, and I hadn't seen her since our 20th high school reunion three years ago, so I stopped off and had lunch with her and her family. It was nice to reconnect with her, meet her children for the first time, and relax. All too soon I had to leave, as I needed to check into my hotel and get to the Expo before it closed.

Disney really went all out for this race, and no detail was left out (would you expect anything less from Disney?) They had complimentary shuttle service to and from all of their partnering hotels in the area, which was really nice. I checked in to my hotel, the Hilton, and caught the next shuttle to Downtown Disney, which I then had to walk through to get to the Disneyland Hotel. I got my bib and timing chip then headed downstairs to get my t-shirt, goody bag, and hit the Expo. Once there I connected with my friend who's been helping me train; he was running the race as well. I bought myself a tank top from One More Mile. I love their stuff...their slogans are so funny. The one I got says "Dear God, please let there be someone behind me to read this" on the back. Very cute. After the Expo, I had to hit the shops to buy my kids gifts (a Star Wars Lego set for D, and a stuffed baby Cinderella for A) and then my friend and I ate a carb-loaded dinner at ESPN Zone. All too soon, it was back to the hotel to lay my gear out for the next day and to go to sleep early.

As we were supposed to be in the start area at around 4:30, I set my clock for 3:45. Actually, I set 4 clocks (I was so paranoid I wouldn't get up in time!) As it turns out, I didn't need any. I was wide awake at 3:15, too excited and nervous to go back to sleep. I finally got out of bed, brushed my teeth, got dressed, ate a Clif bar, and headed downstairs. I met another runner, Roxanne, in the elevator, and ended up hanging out with her from the shuttle to the pre-race area and even ran the first mile with her. The pre-race area (actually the Lilo and Stitch parking lot) was crowded with 14,000 racers and was humming with excitement. Soon it was time to go to our assigned corrals (I was in Corral E) and wait for the start. The race started promptly at 6:00--for Corral A. They staggered the start times for Corrals, so by the time I actually got to cross the start line it was almost 6:30! Mickey and Minnie Mouse were at the start line, cheering us on (or should I say, chEARing us on?)

The first few miles were amazing. We headed around the perimeter of the park, then entered California Adventure. It was so fun to be in the theme parks that I didn't even turn on my iPod for the first four miles! They had all the characters out in full force--seemed mostly characters from Pixar movies like Toy Story, The Incredibles, Monsters Inc, etc--and many people stopped to pose for pictures with them. I was tempted--I had brought my camera with me on the run and took many pictures myself--but didn't want to stop and wait in line to pose. I knew it would take too much time off my final time. They had fun music playing from High School Musical, and the rides (like the ferris wheel) were operating, although of course they were empty. After we ran through California Adventure we exited the park and headed across the lot to the Magic Kingdom.

To me, the Magic Kingdom was even MORE fun than California Adventure! I have grown up going to Disneyland, so it was incredible to run up Main Street. The course veered off into Frontier Land, then over through Fantasy Land and Tomorrow Land. Of course, the characters were out in full force here too. Lots of Princesses, of course (Princess Tiana posed with Louis the Alligator, and right outside of Sleeping Beauty's Castle was Belle, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White) but I also saw the Little Einsteins and Storm Troopers (outside of Star Tours, of course), as well as other characters whose names I don't remember.

A really fun part was running through Sleeping Beauty's Castle...we ran through it while leaving Fantasy Land, on our way to Tomorrow Land. That area was full of villians! On top of the Castle was the witch from Sleeping Beauty, casting the right was Cruella de Ville...and to the left was the Queen from Snow White. Music played throughout the Magic Kingdom. Princess-y music in some part, and Star Wars music in Tomorrow Land. One advantage to running through Disneyland was the bathrooms! They were all open! I am used to using Porta-Pottys, or something similar, during long runs. I gladly took advantage of the nice bathroom behind the Alice-in-Wonderland ride before I exited Fantasy Land. It's always nice to have proper plumbing and soap and water!

By about mile 3 1/2, we headed behind Toon Town in the back lot. This was interesting, because of course I'd never been behind the scenes before. We then exited the park (I was sad to leave) and we were on the streets of Anaheim. This part of the race was a regular non-descript route. I turned on my iPod and kept running. There were lots of spectators along the way, however, which made it more fun. Lots of school bands, cheerleaders, even clubs and organizations (for example, at one point there was some sort of Hispanic group doing what looked like square dancing off to the side. I know it wasn't square dancing per se, but it was similar, and fun to run by). Boy Scout troops, Brownie troops...they were all out cheering. Our first names were on our bibs, and many people called out my name in particular, which always gave me extra motivation and a big smile on my face. Lots of kids were lining parts of the course with their hands out....I tried to give as many "high fives" as I could. They loved it, and so did I!

Although most of the streets of Anaheim was pretty boring, we did get to run through Angel Stadium. That was amazing! We ran down a tunnel, and were suddenly on the outfield and got to run the perimeter. The stadium had tons of people cheering. I saw my favorite spectator sign of the race: "You Look Hot When You Sweat". Loved it! I gave tons of high-fives along the way to the kids leaning over the sides with their arms outstretched. They had a video camera somewhere on the course that put people on the Jumbotron...however, I looked too late at the screen and missed seeing myself. On the way out I saw my second favorite spectator sign: "Run, Walk, Crawl...Just Finish!".

Finally I got to mile 11, and we were entering the Downtown Disney area again. When I saw the time clock at mile 11 I realized that despite my fears, injury and sickness this past week that I was actually doing well on time, and would PR. I really pushed myself hard then. I was very tired, but told myself I could rest--and cry!--later. I sprinted most of the last 2 miles, with only a few walk breaks. When I finally crossed the finish line, I was glad I did....I set a PR by 7 minutes and 6 seconds! My time was just a little bit over 2 hours 47 minutes. I was so proud of myself! I got my medal, my picture taken, and post-race snack, and went to find my friend (who had finished over an hour before). After a refreshing stop at Jamba Juice, it was back to the hotel to shower, then head on home.

I had been nervous about this race because I hadn't done a long run in 3 weeks...but this just proved to me that I am fit. Even without a long run, I had swam, biked or done the elliptical practically every day since the AFC Half and this kept me strong and ready. Now, onto my first triathlon, which is in less than a month. My next half marathon will be the Carlsbad Half in January. Can't wait!

September 3, 2010

Going to Run Disneyland!

This weekend I have another half marathon, this time the Disneyland Half Marathon up in Anaheim. It will be my second half marathon in 3 weeks (I did the America's Finest City Half Marathon mid-August) and my third one ever. And I just realized that today is exactly one month from my first triathlon! When I signed up for all these races they seemed so far away, and now I'm in the middle of them. Crazy!

I'm actually a bit anxious about this one. Yes, it seems like it will be a lot of fun. It goes through the Magic Kingdom and California Adventure, as well as through Angel Stadium. Lots of the race is along the streets of Anaheim, of course, but going through these three places should prove to be very fun. Plus I think there are supposed to be Disney characters along the way, cheering us on. And the people watching should be interesting! I anticipate people dressed up Disney-style. I myself might wear Mickey Mouse Ears if I can find some at the Expo that will nicely clip onto my visor (I refuse to run almost 3 hours with a strap under my chin; that would get annoying at around mile 2). The course is flat, which will be a nice contrast to the one I ran a few weeks ago; that one had a steady uphill during the entire last mile!

So why am I anxious about this one? There are a few reasons. First, I hurt my toe last weekend. I recently bought a triathlon wetsuit, and wanted to test it out in the open water. I had a great swim at La Jolla Cove (the wetsuit really did keep my body warm; I wish I was able to have one cover my face, hands and feet too!). However, when I was getting out of the water, a wave threw me onto a boulder, where I hurt my toe. Seven days later it still hurts. I don't think it's broken, but I'm not positive. I'm pretty sure it's just badly bruised. My plan is to get an x-ray if it still hurts badly a few days after the half marathon.

But in the meantime, I haven't been running. I don't want to put any impact on my toe, so all my workouts since last weekend have been non-impact: swimming, biking, or doing the elliptical at the gym. And the weekend before last (which was the weekend after the half marathon I did) I was very sick on the day of my scheduled long run, so I skipped it. So essentially, except for a few 3 milers here and there, I haven't run in almost 3 weeks.

Another reason I'm a bit worried is that I've been sick this week. I got a cold (thanks a lot, back-to-school germs!) and haven't been feeling like myself. Even as I type this, I don't have much of an appetite, which isn't good because I should be carb-loading and hydrating.

So between my toe injury, being sick now, and not having any long runs in almost three weeks, I've been psyching myself out that I'm not ready for this.

I'll do it though. Here's why:

  • I've been working hard for this. I started training for these half marathons back in January, and have been running steadily.
  • I ROCKED the AFC Half Marathon almost 3 weeks ago, even set a PR. I may not PR this time, due to all that's going on, but that's ok. As long as I finish I'll be proud of myself, especially considering the circumstances I've been under.
  • In the 19 days since the AFC, I've worked out 16 days. I only missed 3 days, all due to being sick. In those 16 days, I only had a few short runs, but I've still worked out---swimming, biking, and doing the elliptical machine. I even had another long hilly bike ride of 18.6 miles. Just because I haven't had a lot of running recently doesn't mean I haven't been working out, exercising hard, getting sweaty and staying fit.
  • I will finish this race regardless of the time. I have spent a lot of time training, a lot of money on the race (not to mention the hotel, food, souvenirs, etc) and I will bring home that coveted medal.
I will report back after my race....wish me luck! I'm down, but not out, and can do this thing!

September 1, 2010

Childhood Memorabilia

Today I was home sick. I started to get sick yesterday with a sore throat, and woke up this morning with a sinus headache, a runny nose, and a stuffy head. Needless to say, I cancelled A's physical therapy appointment (can't be at Children's Hospital while contagious!) and we stayed home all day. Although I felt terrible most of the day, there were a few hours in the middle of the day when I had some energy. I decided to use that time to sort through D's and A's schoolwork/artwork, which are in big plastic bins in the garage.

You see, I hate throwing away their schoolwork and artwork. I don't keep EVERYTHING; if I did, I'd need a storage unit just for that! But I do keep a lot: drawings, art projects, construction paper hats made for various holidays, writing books. I label everything with the year, and toss it in a plastic bin in the garage. My plan is that when they are adults, I will give each child their bin and they can sort through for themselves what they want to keep.

So today, I spent time finishing labeling the projects D brought home from kindergarten last year, and put it in his bin. And now his bin is full. Completely filled. He has been in "school" of some sort since he was 5 months old....first a Mommy-and-Me class for two years, then preschool for three years, then kindergarten. And he brought lots of stuff home from each class. I labeled the entire bin "birth through kindergarten" and am now onto bin #2 for him. I suspect that this next bin will last from 1st grade onward, as I'm sure artwork dwindles every year.

A's bin....well, it is about 1/8 full. There are a handful of art projects (mostly fingerpainting) that she has made in school for the past two years, but that's about it. Granted, A is two years younger than D, and much of D's artwork and schoolwork came from kindergarten last year, but still. It made me sad.

D went to preschool at our synagogue. And they were big into projects. Not only do we have the typical artwork any preschool would make, but they also did projects for each Jewish holiday. Torahs made out of paper towel rolls, Purim groggers, and tzedakah boxes came home alongside caterpillars made from egg cartons and homemade books. A doesn't go to the preschool at our synagogue; she goes to fabulous preschool at a Presbyterian church that has the most amazing inclusion program (this school is truly the right school for her). There are not as many projects coming home from this school. I'm not sure why, and it doesn't make the school better or worse than D's school....but I'm not used to it, and I'm sad that her box of school memorabilia is so skimpy.

It just reminds me, once again, at the differences between my children. Not that every child has to have the same experiences or opportunities...I know that isn't true, and even if A had been typically developing her childhood still would have been different than D's. But I'm sad that she didn't get the same preschool experience....I loved that D got such a great Jewish foundation through school. With A, all of her Jewish identity comes from home. Again, it's ok...but it makes me sad.

I'm sure that A's bin of schoolwork and artwork will soon fill up, especially when she hits the pre-kindergarten program next year, and then kindergarten the year after that. Until then, I will continue to save every scrap she brings home.