And other advice on how to recover from a race and keep up with an 8-month old.
(SPOILER ALERT: you really can’t do this)
The minute I crossed the finish line in Alabama I knew that my legs would be barking for a few days. I could barely descend stairs. I had to use the bar that goes across the porta-potty door to get up from the porta-potty. Which also tells you that I actually had to sit on the porta-potty because my quads could not tolerate squatting.
It was that bad.
And 3 days later, to promote active recovery, I was easy spinning on my bike at 10 miles an hour and 47 watts (yes, it’s possible) when my hamstring cramped. Both of them. Noted, hamstrings. NOTED. I might actually recover if I could just sit down and recover. Unfortunately, my child has other plans.
Here’s the deal. Max has no idea that just 72 hours ago my legs were raging up and down hills. All he knows is that I am here and life goes on like it does every other day. There is crawling, babbling, napping, eating and giggling that must be done. And, he still cannot dress, wipe or feed himself. SIGH. But not surprising for a man, right? This makes for a lot of physical labor. And he’s getting heavy. 18 pounds. Have you any idea how hard it is to descend stairs with a squiggly 18-pound weight? I had to descend one foot, one step at a time. SIDEWAYS.
Keeping up with him has become a workout. He’s mobile, armed and dangerous. Armed with arms. Arms with little grabbing hands. Those are very dangerous things. And what about keeping up with his development? It doesn’t help that the other day I read somewhere that you should bathe your child in the language of 2100 words an hour. That is 35 words a minute. Some hours go by and I realize I’ve said….like three. 50 percent being “NO”.
It makes me think: am I keeping up with parenting? Am I on pace? I believe parenting is done at a pace of 5:17 per mile. Hmm. Maybe if I wear my racing flats around the house? Maybe I need to go back on the coffee. I am not beyond doping-enhanced parenting.
The moment we turnaround, we realize we haven't kept his pace. Today was the day we finally found Max eating kibble. 7 am, to Boss’ chagrin, Max made it to the food bowl first.
Does he have kibble in his mouth?
Later in the day, after having a million fits of tears and screams because it’s much more fun to crawl around with yellow snot streaming from your noise than to just have the damn thing wiped, we had our first household knickknack casualty. Max – 1. Ceramic Teapot – 0.
Newborns sit still. They find great pleasure in laying on mats with colorful dangly things hanging over them. They can do this for long periods of time while you go on with your life. And then the child moves. Then you spend long periods of your time keeping them from putting shoes in their mouth, from eating plants and other mischief.
I’m learning that Max has, er, um, a lot of energy. No idea where that came from. If you ask my mom, she’ll tell you that I ate too many Power Bars during pregnancy. If you ask my mother-in-law, she’ll tell you that he is destined to be smart because of the shape of his forehead (don’t ask). Smart or not, I try to give him as many opportunities as possible to crawl, wiggle and move to get all of that energy out.
Enter: Diaper Dippers.
Every Monday night, Chris and Max do Diaper Dippers. They sing songs, they learn to swim. The first week, I did my swim while they attended class. I caught the end of it, watching Chris walk around the pool with Max on a kick board. It was really cute.
Arrive at this week. My “recovery” week where I’ve done nothing but spin on my bike at under 50 watts (Chris would have to pedal with one foot to accomplish that and his favorite thing to politely remind me of all the time is that he warms up at my threshold wattage. Moments like that I have nothing to throw back at him other than: I gave birth to your child. That should be enough.). With my extra time this week, I went to class to watch them.
Walking on to the pool deck, I noticed the sign with big black block letters that said NO SWIM LESSONS THIS WEEK. Spring break. Chris says he didn’t see the sign. Neither did another dad who showed up with his daughter. The moms out there know that this is something dad would do. Dads don’t see signs. Nor notes. Nor the closet full of hangers begging them to hang up their coat but instead they repeatedly throw it on the floor.
I told Chris they should swim anyways. Meanwhile, I'll sit on deck and take a thousand pictures of my kid. Yeah, I’m one of them.
Max learns to swim with the support of a foam barbell. And you thought they were just for the crazy women who don't want to get their hair wet! I notice he has a weak kick but take no genetic responsibility for that.
Here he is showing off the start of a killer butterfly stroke.
It's never too early to start doing press-ups!
Along with watching Chris and Max, I watched the other father and his little girl. He was probably mid-30s with a spiky hairdo, an arm tattoo and long board shorts. He looked cool. But then I realized at some point, all parents are cool. Somewhere in our teenage years they become uncool and then we spend the rest of our adult life relearning how cool our parents really are after all.
Something struck me though. Not the tattoo. Not the hair. Hmmm....
I looked at him. I looked at my husband. There was my husband not in a Speedo but in something that you could just call shorty short butt huggers. Shorts designed for swimming speed at masters, not cover me up but keep me fashionable. Now, while my husband certainly has an incredible physique, it occurred to me that perhaps the rest of the general public might not be ready to see this. Better yet, might not need to see this.
At that moment, I realized how out of place this was. How terribly inappropriate and borderline perverse. My husband, in butt huggers, in the kiddie pool. Not only that, but what on earth must this other dad be thinking. He probably goes home to his wife to tell the tale of a father who showed up at the pool in something one degree away from a Tangerine Speedo.
Please get me a towel….la la la la.
Later that night, we had a talk.
(this is how every conversation opens up)
We need to talk about your shorts.
What about them.
You gotta get yourself a real swimsuit.
What do you mean.
Board shorts. You need some board shorts to wear into the pool because those shorty shorts that make you swim really fast for swim team are really inappropriate in the rest of the world.
Now my husband is the master of functionality. He has the side pocket of his gym bag labeled “FOO”. That means FOO-D (he lost the “D”) is in that pocket. It’s ok to laugh. I do, often. So to him, the suit he wears is a swimsuit and they are swimming. I explained to him the rest of the world doesn’t see it that way. Right now, you’re like the guy who shows up to masters with the really worn out soon that is baggy in all the wrong places.
The next day, Chris came home with a Target bag containing blue hibiscus board shorts. I won’t get into how dorky it is that he and Max have matching suits. I’m just glad he took the initiative to cover those butt cheeks up.
Turns out, my most difficult workout this week was not squatting on the pool deck to take incessant pictures of Chris and Max. Though that really hurt. It was not running on the elliptical for 45 minutes to give my crampy hamstrings some rest. It was story time on Thursday.
I’m convinced that some moms use story time as their workout. As if trying to figure out the mystery of how oats, peas, beans, and barley grow wasn't enough (do you know, does anyone know, because this freakin’ question is raised every single week and if I don’t get an answer soon I’m going to have to stop going to story time as the suspense is KILLING me), we do all sorts of rhymes and songs that require lifting the child up and down. Wobbling the child back and forth. Then we do this rhyme that involves the child bouncing up and down on our quads like riding a horse. At different speeds – jiggity jog, prance and a-gallop. I almost yiped during a-gallop as Max pounded my quads double tempo. I almost yelped as my right quad winced in pain when I had to get up from the floor while holding him.
I can’t say that parenting an on the go 8-month old is good for recovery but I’ve heard it could be worse. He could be walking. Which means I would be chasing. I’ve got at least another 2 months before that happens. Until then, it's compression socks, gentle stretching, taking straight up shots of whey protein powder after every race. After then, I might need a full body compression sleeve, a protein powder IV and a scooter to keep up.
Here’s to recovery!