Photo from Mount Royal, Frisco, Colorado.

"That is happiness; to be disolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep." - Willa Cather

Saturday 29 September 2007

Tale of the 5 month pregnant half marathon.

What an incredible morning! The race went really well. I kept up the same pace pretty much the whole time and only had two bathroom stops (okay that is a lot for the 1 hour and 46 minutes it took me to finish). It would have been a lot more than two, though, had I not realized I had a bladder infection yesterday and had SR order me some Nitrofurantoin stat.

If you ever need to restore your faith in humanity, you should wear a "5 months pregnant" t-shirt to a half marathon. Men and women alike were so supportive. And despite was SR had predicted, the women seemed proud of me and not jealous or judgemental. And there were many fun comments directed at me...

Did they charge you twice?

Bet that kid's going to be a runner!

The rule is they take 1/3 off your finishing time.

Man, if you beat me, I'm going to feel like shit; you're carrying a whole other person. To which I responded "Glad it's inspiring you just like it is me."

I saw SR after the half-way turnaround and he was in third, looking very strong and fast. He managed to stay in third the whole race. We were quite happy at the end and embraced for a long time, partly because we were so cold. And then I ate 6 large sugar cookies and half a bagel.

I couldn't believe how good I felt the whole race! Somehow I didn't overdo it, but still managed to go fast enough to feel good about my time.

I certainly put my foot in my mouth when we were talking to my future boss in the urgent care... He had told me he was a "serious runner" during the job interview but he didn't pick up on the fact that I was a runner, too. Anyway, after the race I asked him how he did and when he told me his time, I said "Wow, I'm 5 months pregnant (showed the shirt) and I beat you!" He looked pretty disgruntled after that. But SR and two other residents were laughing heartily. Oh, well.

One of our best friends, Justine (pet name), took second overall despite the fact that he had started out with a good lead. I guess the pacing bikes led him down a wrong street for about a minute and then he couldn't catch up to the first place guy. He seemed pretty calm about it, though. And happy overall because his first child was just born on Thursday.

Yes, it was a great day.

Pictures of the race will follow shortly.

Friday 28 September 2007

contract negotiation and polyuria

Wow. Just went out for a brief run; just 4 miles to keep the legs loose for the 1/2 marathon tomorrow. At mile 2 I stopped to urinate at a local grocery store and then on the way back, 100 meters from our house, I had a crisis and peed in my shorts. I'm going to be more than slightly embarrassed if that happens tomorrow :). But how can one possibly have to pee every 15 minutes?

In other news, I went in to sign a contract for my job that begins next week. I am quite excited to start, I must admit. But the pay was different than I had been told. The contract said $80/hour, but I had been told $103/hour. When I told the gal who was having me sign the papers that the pay was too low, I suddenly realized how crazy I must sound: a 28 year old girl saying $80/hour is not enough. The pay discrepancy between jobs in the US is incredible. I will never make even close to that amount of money in Europe and that is okay. Anyway, my persistence paid off as the contract is being changed.

SR and I both had the morning off after that. This involved putting on some music and him having his way with me. We got to lay in bed for like an hour afterwards. He was laying there touching my face while I had my eyes closed and when I opened my eyes, there were tears in his eyes and on his cheeks, but he was smiling. Gosh, I am in love, as you all must know by now.

Tonight we are going to some local fest and I get to meet many of the former medical residents, who have apparently all heard the tale about SR "getting this _____ surgery chick pregnant." How scandalous.

So it's the 20 week point in the pregnancy today (1/2 way there!) and still only 6 lbs gained. I am quite happy. And it's gorgeous outside, so I'm going to get on my bike.

Running song of the day: Red Umbrella by Faith Hill (lyrics are cliche, but man does she sing melodic songs)

Wednesday 26 September 2007

I want to play the game. I want the friction.

Just got back from a beautiful 12 mile run. I know I should probably be tapering for the 1/2 marathon this Saturday. But I'm not planning on winning the race, so I don't see a compelling reason to give up this daily joy. I did design a fun shirt on-line for the race, which you can see there to the left. Yes, it is true that part of the fun will be to fly past the notoriously slow middle-aged men and have them catch a glimpse of the shirt. However, if I need to urinate as much as I did today on the run, I don't know that I'll be passing anyone.

It is well-described that being pregnant slows women down when running, but the reason for this is elusive to me. A big component of it, at least for me, is the constant urge to urinate and the pain of gas in the bowels. I'm sure there's more to it than this, though.

Last night I got home and SR had framed and hung up tons of wonderful photos of us together and us with the kids. We joke about what a good man-servant he is, but I must say he took it to a whole new level, considering one was even a photo collage. We went upstairs to look at the photos in the bedroom, one of which we are along lake camping with the sun setting behind us. We were playing around and laughing and before I knew it my running shorts were at my ankles and, you know. Yes, life is good. And he is a good man-servant. :)

Running song of the day: Time is Running Out by Muse

Tuesday 25 September 2007

Death, education and love

I want to respond to a comment from the inspirational ultra marathoner, Olga:

One day I hope to find someone to be happy with. Right now I keep asking same question: I broke my husband's heart by telling him we need to split, and I have no regrets. The thing is, we never were friends. We were lovers, parents to our kids, co-workers...but never friends, never much to agree upon, to share an opinion about. Now seems like the whole "home-country" world is blaming - it is always a woman's fault for not been able to "bend" and keep the marriage. It is ok for a guy to see other women, yell, give commands, make decisions. It is not ok for a woman to step away from it, especially if the kids are involved. Looking back at SR's blog when his wife just left him - it feels miserable for him then. But it lead him to you. I have one of my best friends who left her ex-husband, and her new husband was left by his wife. Both men (ex and new) were basically dumped. Both had gone through pain of adjusting. Both happy now. How can I show the way to my husband that he will be happy one day, if he just lets go right now?

Dear Olga,
This is a difficult, complex question and I love it. I can tell we are going through similar things with our ex-husbands, despite having different types of relationships with them.

I 'm thinking back to the book Anna Karenina. In the book Anna left her husband to be with someone she had fallen madly in love with. I remember being so happy for her in the book and I so badly wanted to feel love as strongly as she did. But in the end, everything goes wrong for Anna. Her life falls apart and eventually she is hit by a train and killed. What a terrible ending. Tolstoy is a great author and a deep thinker. But in the end, the point of the book was that women will eventually regret leaving their husbands. I was so angry at the end of the book and was amazed at how strongly I disagreed with Tolstoy. My ex-husband had also read the book and how poignant it was that he agreed with Tolstoy and not me.

The reason I bring this up is, Olga, we live in a a society of guilt. And then add to this the all-too-prevalent belief that women should be subordinate to men. I spent much of my young adulthood living in France, and the belief that women are intellectually and emotionally inferior to men is still evident even today. One of the most influential thinkers in France was Jean Jacques Rousseau (a sexy name I'll admit), who did not believe the French government should waste money educating women. And I think this goes a long way to prevent healthy relationships between men and women.

So we have two big issues to deal with in terms of other people judging our lives from the outside. And then there is the even bigger issue of hurting someone we cared about.

But I'm telling you Olga that we are lucky. We are educated, self-assured women and we have been encouraged to value our own ideas. I do believe that only women who have this can find truly mutual love. And, of course, you need to find the right man. But if you keep your eyes and heart open, Olga, I truly believe you will find him. And it will be so worth the wait!

The other thing I will add is that guilt is an unhealthy emotion. It is as unhealthy as any disease. And probably as unhealthy as jealously. I can tell you realize this, though, since you don't have regrets. We have to realize when we have the power to make someone's life better and when we don't. And when we don't, we need to focus on what we can do. So you ask how you can show your husband the way to be happy again, and I honestly don't think you can (or should feel like you need to). Our exes need to find happiness again on their own, and when they do, they will be much better off for it.

Monday 24 September 2007


It was a pensive, slow-start morning. When I finally got out the door to run, it was hot. Unusually hot for the second day of Fall here. Many thoughts, good and bad were buzzing through my head. I hate seeing SR look scared, and that's how he looked this morning. We stayed in bed for a while this morning staring at each other's eyes. The humid and hazy run was broken up by a freight train going by me at a frightening speed. I watched one rusty box car after another and had the inevitable thought that the train was all too much like life. It seems like in the end, things will have all gone by so quickly. And what meaning can be made of it all?

But then, as usually happens when I'm running, my thoughts got a bit more optimistic. This time I thought about Kurt Vonnegut. One of his characters had looked at his life like a range of mountains, with events and emotions combining into beautiful scenery when you look at them all together. And in the end there is no time and nothing has passed you by, but everything important in your life makes up this panorama, with great breadth and height and beauty.

Life is amazingly good when you think of how we can shape it. And how many wonderful things there are in the world, especially when you have found someone to share them with.

On Friday we had our 19 week ultrasound. And the baby looked beautiful, though lizard-like at times. It moved around quite a bit. It's head was wedged in comfortably by the cervix. It was 75th percentile for size for this time in pregnancy, so we were quite happy considering I have only gained 1 lb since the first OB appointment. Just goes to show that the baby does have an amazing ability to get what it needs. The nasal bone was long enough that it seemed unlikely the baby would have Down Syndrome (interesting new screening test). The heart, kidneys and stomach all looked normal. And the cerebellum looked normal, making Arnold Chiari malformation unlikely. There's way too much to worry about when you know all that can go wrong. We had the ultrasound tech write down the sex on a piece of paper for us to open later.

At the OB appointment, a new midwife saw us and when she walked in she said we looked like such a Scandinavian couple. We got a kick out of that considering our upcoming move. She was proud of how much I had been running and encouraged me to do the half marathon this coming weekend if I felt up to it. She reconfirmed that the baby's size was normal and that I needn't worry about the lack of weight gain (I'm hoping that a couple weeks after the delivery I'll be thinner than I started). She was stumped by a few of our questions and had to refer to us, the two doctors for answers. It is fun but a little scary to know more than your provider.

That night we went to my parents' house in Milwaukee. They got to see the dvd of the ultrasound. They were quite happy. And also seemed glad they got to spend more time with SR. My mom in particular seems crazy about him.

SR and I had sex in my old bed and then opened the envelope to learn it was a boy.

Here's me going to bed, ear plugs in place, after we learned the exciting news.
My dad cried a little the next morning when he learned he would have a grandson.

Near my parent's house is the Ice Age Trail which has winding, rocky dirt running trails in the forest. We ran for three hours in bliss. Perhaps we will be ready for an ultra marathon in the Spring.

That night my 10 year high school reunion was quite enjoyable. It was fun to introduce SR to everyone. And to show the ultrasound pictures. The girls from my class looked really good. I was proud to hear about their jobs and the fun many of them seemed to be having. The most interesting conversation was about 20 HETE protein and its role in cerebral ischemia.

Here's us going to the reunion:

When we returned from our weekend away, we spent time with SR's kids. We had a Napoleon night where his daughter and I looked up everything we could learn about Napoleon. Life without TV is good. We made lox, vegetables & peanuts with grits and soy sauce for dinner. Yum! The vegetarian lifestyle seems to be going over well with SR and his kids. We even joked about a new Religion of Low Impact (ROLI), where a omniscient man named Roli would tell us what was best for the environment. But we have become serious about buying the ingredients for everything and avoiding processed, pre-packed foods. It's really a lot of fun.

Running Song of the Day: Alting Kan Itu by Anne Linnet

Thursday 20 September 2007

Happy Puppet

This morning I woke up and I was so happy. I got to sleep again in peace next to SR. I weighed myself and still have only gained 6 lbs! Yay! And it was a beautiful day for a run.

But then I thought about what an emotional day yesterday was and I couldn't believe it had nearly slipped my mind already. I sometimes joke that I have the disorder of being constitutionally happy. I guess I doubt you can appreciate life to the fullest as a happy puppet. Yesterday I went back to my hometown to get a divorce with ex-husband, who I hadn't seen since March. In truth it was so good to see him and know he was okay. He was my best friend for ten years. And we broke up on the grounds that we had really never been more than great friends and at first it seemed mutual. But then in April he refused to talk to me. It was all to clear yesterday that though he was the same person he had always been, I had broken his heart and his life had not yet changed for the better. I would have to be heartless to not care about this. In the past, his happiness so much depended on me and there were few things that I cared about more, but now there is nothing I can do to make things better for him.

And I ask myself if I am a horrible person to have no regrets. But I met the love of my life. And have lived a fairy tale romance since SR and I started dating in March. And we are having a baby and I don't think either of us have ever been so happy. What more does one need in life? So I hope that ex-husband will find the same happiness. And regretting won't help anyone.

I hear SR's sleeping breath behind me and I know life is good. We're going to be running some fun trails this weekend. Hopefully I'll have a 20 miler on Saturday. I'll be excited to post pictures and tell the tales.

Running Song of the Day: Falling by Ben Kweller

Tuesday 18 September 2007

Stories about marathons in pregnancy

I'm planning to do some research on pregnant women running marathons. I will do a thorough search of the medical literature, but was wondering in the meantime if any readers out there have stories of your own to share. Perhaps you've done it yourself or know of friends who have. How far along were you/they and what was the experience like? It would be cool to compile as much information as possible on the subject for other women considering the same thing.


Running Song of the Day: No Ceiling by Eddie Vedder (nice short song that was just released today)

New favorite post-run drink: 1/2 Lakewood Organic Lemonade
1/2 Diet Twist Up

Monday 17 September 2007

marathon 5 months pregnant

I feel great today. I just had a beautiful 13 mile run, with only one stop for torrential rain (oh, and like stops 5 to urinate... the joys of pregnancy). There are some very scenic trails in the woods around here. Anyway, I've decided to run the whole 26.2 miles at a nearby marathon in the Midwest in 3 weeks.
I have consulted ob-gyn doctors and midwives about running a marathon 5 months pregnant, but they all say there is not enough information to advise me either way. As I have stated before, there are so many benefits of exercise during pregnancy. As long as I don't push myself too much or get overheated or dehydrated, I think it should be a great experience.
In other news, we finally obtained some forms for our emigration to Scandinavia. It's much more straight-forward than we had thought. Probably the most challenging part will be for me to learn the language well enough to get a permanent position as a doctor there. But that will be great fun, since I love languages almost as much as I love running.
I'm off to bike and swim now. Yes, the joys of vacation from work continue.

Monday 10 September 2007

heavenly weekend in a strange town

It's raining this morning. I am waiting for it to let up so I can go running. I am so lucky to have all of this time off before work begins.

We had an incredible weekend. We went to this horribly commercialized town much like Las Vegas but smaller for a medical conference. Had I been with anyone else, I doubt I would have had much fun. But SR and I got there and we joked about our "wilderness" hotel. I feel like a kid with him. He always brings two candles on plates with us when we go out of town. He says that way he's "got game." So he lit the cheep candles. The truth is I love looking at him in the candlelight. It is a strange feeling to know that we need nothing more than each other to be happy. We talked about childhood. It turns out we both were extremely saddened as children by how fleeting time is and how no one seems to appreciate how quickly things fade around them. Of course, much has been written about living in the moment. And right now that moment is so important to us. I can't imagine being happier than I am now, with SR.

We had wonderful sex and went to bed late. We didn't wake up for breakfast and skipped the morning part of the conference. We had breakfast on the balcony and then morning sex. Then we went running for two and a half hours at a nearby state park. There was a nice lake and winding running trails.

Then we came back to the conference. SR and two other residents from his group of residents won a state-wide medical jeopardy competition. So we are getting a free trip to Washington DC for the national competition!

Later we went to the hotel waterpark with the other residents. It was fun going down the slides and trying to look un-pregnant so I wouldn't get kicked off. The other residents at our program are quite conservative in the sense that most are from India and they had arranged marriages. They look at SR and me with fascination. I'm sure they see us like people in a movie or soap opera, even though we are all friends. We left our respective spouses and I got pregnant two months after SR and I started dating. Certainly this is much different than their marriages.

That night SR and I went to eat Mexican food. We talked a lot about the Beatles, who we had had similar obsessions with at about the age of 13. It never ceases to amaze me how similar we were are and yet we were brought up half way across the world from each other.

Looks like the rain is letting up so I better get running. Here are some pictures of us from the weekend.
The first one is SR with another resident who won medical jeopardy. I'm standing to the right.
The next one is me and it's pretty self-explanatory.

Friday 7 September 2007

Current Running Soundtrack

Here's a list of songs I like to run to now.

City Syndrome - AM
Snow on the Sahara - Anggun
Irreplaceable - Beyonce
Wisemen - James Blunt
Trimmed and Burning – Built to Spill
Butterfly – Crazy Town
Fuck Dig – Anna David
Title and Registration – Death Cab For Cutie
Beautiful Mess – Diamond Rio
Cowboy Take Me Away – Dixie Chicks
I Get Around – Dragonette
You Please Me - Dragonette
Hear Me Out - Frou Frou
Goodnight and Go – Imogen Heap
Oh Yoko – John Lennon
Soft Rock Star - Metric
Missed the Boat – Modest Mouse
Sink the Seine – Of Montreal
Catastrophe – Rainer Maria
Close Call – Rilo Kiley
Turn it Up – Robots in Disguise
Lake Michigan – Rogue Wave
Sunday - Sia
I Turn My Camera On – Spoon
I Summon You - Spoon
She’s So High – Tal Bachman
Play Tough – The Apples in Stereo
Same Old Drag – The Apples in Stereo
Stream Running Over – The Apples in Stereo
Valse d’Amelie – Yann Tiersen
Battleships - Travis
Jezebel – Two Hours Traffic