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running with the family

What do you do when you wake up at sunrise on a gorgeous weekend morning? Go running!  No… Wait! That was my “old self” from ten years ago answering.  My “today self” pushes Ariel out of bed while whining about how tired I am, begging him to get up with the kids.  Lucky for me, he often does this even before my whining begins.  He knows I’m not a pretty person to be around when I’m tired.

Strangely, when we woke at 6 am on Saturday after an interrupted night’s sleep, instead of responding “yes!” to Ariel’s offer to get up with the kids, that enthusiastic morning person buried beneath my tired Mommy self somehow clawed her way to the front and I found myself suggesting we all get up and go for a run. Two days earlier, I’d attempted my first run since early in my pregnancy 18 months ago.  I’d tried alternating minutes of walking and jogging, totaling about 2 miles and felt great, both physically and mentally.

Running in the morning on the trail overlooking the Mediterranean Sea used to be one of my favorite things to do here so I was enthusiastic about continuing this tradition with all members of my family.  The details of getting us out the door (who needs a snack? do you need to use the bathroom? where is Eitan’s hat? where’s my water bottle?) were more complicated than they should have been and it was well past sunrise before we were on our way.  Once outside and halfway down the block, Aviv announced that he needed to go potty.  So Ariel took him back into the house and I continued my warm-up walk toward the water with Eitan in the running stroller.  Once to the path, I began a slow jog against the flow of florescent-clad runners who were already on their way home and felt an instant runner’s high.

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The boys caught up with us in no time and as I pushed the stroller, Ariel mostly dragged Aviv on his scooter.  We crawled along… but everyone was happy!  Toward the end of the run I asked Ariel if it wasn’t wrecking his run to be leaning over and pulling a kid along.  He answered with complete sincerity “Is there anything better than holding Aviv’s hand all morning?”!

the workout: 5km slow jog, alternated with walking at random intervals, concentrating on form and not leaning over stroller

 

my non-mommy suit

Back in July, two months after Baby E was born, I went swimsuit shopping.  My requirements were that suit camouflage my postpartum belly and be easily accessible for nursing.  I walked out of the store with both a suit which fit my needs and a suit I was pretty sure I’d never wear.  I justified the purchase by saying it would motivate me to get my figure back in time to look fabulous at Gordon Pool in Tel Aviv.  In truth, I thought the sleek silver suit was something I’d never have fit into even before children but for $17 it was a steal so I grabbed it.  I texted my cousin (who’d also just had a baby) that I’d purchased a mommy suit and a non-mommy suit.  We had a good laugh.

Fast forward six months to today… I actually wore my non-mommy suit to Gordon Pool!  And I looked fabulous in it, if I do say so myself.  I kept my workout short but it felt amazing to stretch out my limbs and move through the freezing cold water at top speed.  I sprinted my swim because it was too cold to do anything else.  The forecasted 70s were not reached today and the water is unheated, refreshed directly from the depths of the Mediterranean each night.

To ease the strain on my hand, which is still recovering from Wagner and baby carrying, I swam with a closed fist instead of open palm every other lap.  The closed fist swim drill encourages good form and maximizes pull.  Today my goal was to get through my workout without any pain.  Success.

The pool was populated by its usual personnel – a few uber athletes in speed suits, the Gold’s Gym meathead types, the nip & tuckers, and the woman cloud-bathing in her fur trimmed coat and shorty shorts.  I love Gordon Pool.

the workout: 500 meters free, alt closed fist drill

too much adventure

This story has nothing to do with exercise.  On the contrary, it has to do with sitting and eating.  Then sitting and eating some more.  It is how we brought in the new year this year.  We didn’t discuss resolutions or even notice when the clock struck midnight.  We were in the air, somewhere between San Francisco and Istanbul.  Somewhere between December 31st and January 1st.

Our adventure began with a two hour delayed flight and an Uber driver who’d just found out he is going to be a dad.  Literally just found out – we were the first people he told after hanging up the phone with his girlfriend.  In the middle of loading our 5 bags, three carry-ons, stroller, carseat, violin and food bag into his car, the UPS truck drove up and my husband flagged down the driver.  We’d been trying to track two packages that were supposed to arrive the day before and when the driver handed them to my husband, he received an enthusiastic hug.

We made it to the airport and hauled all the bags inside.  Actually, I hauled the kids and my husband managed our baggage.  He could have skipped his earlier run and called moving luggage his workout for the day.  A flight change, complications with our three year old’s ticket and two hours later we boarded the plane.  The flight itself was completely uneventful, which is a great thing when you’re traveling internationally with two young kids.  The food was good and we arrived in Istanbul the next evening, missing New Year’s eve and day completely.  The airport was packed with tired, angry travelers and as we were trying to find our connecting gate a friend from the first flight announced that our next flight had been delayed due to snow in Istanbul and rain in Tel Aviv.  Eight hours.  Overnight.  Wow.  As I soaked in my loud, colorful surroundings, a uniformed Turkish Airlines official whispered something to my husband.  We were passed off to two other men and told to follow them.  They motioned toward the baby sleeping on me.  We were rushed through the mobs of people staking out sleeping spaces on the dirty linoleum floor and passed to a third man who led us into the business class lounge.  At first glance I took in plush white couches, a pool table and crystal chandeliers.  The lounge was its own two story universe, complete with a golf room, movie space, gym, showers, mini remote control race track, coffee bars, top shelf liquor and food in every direction.

I expected at any moment the sun would rise on our decadent night of manti (Turkish dumplings), simit (sesame bagels), olives, brandy, Turkish delight and baklava. The party atmosphere quieted from 2-4am at which time breakfast was served.  I helped myself to musli with ayran and honeycomb as we hurriedly collected our belongings and exited.  I walked with my boys to the new gate, exhausted from lack of sleep but feeling mildly rejuvenated after a shower and stuffing myself full of delicious treats.

The next flight was delayed more and just as we were finally taking off, Baby E started grunting.  I hoped for the best but expected the worst.  And ended up changing a diaper (and entire outfit) while he stood on my lap during take-off.  He then screamed at me for a while and finally fell asleep.

Once off the plane we waited for our luggage.  Then we waited some more.  Then my husband waited in “line” for assistance.  He and the lost baggage lady remembered each other from last year.  And no, they didn’t have any idea what had happened to our stroller, carseat and all but one of our bags.  Good thing we packed our entire house for this trip.

Looking on the bright side, we didn’t have any bags so we all fit into one cab!  Tomorrow I might eat less and I think I’ll go for a walk.  In my rain boots.  I found them hiding in our only bag.

back in the game

I’m officially no longer postpartum.  Apparently that ends with the 6 week post-delivery visit.  I’m also officially not going to be running for a while because I finally had an MRI and found that I do indeed have a bad case of plantar fasciitis and also a touch of tendonitis in my left foot.  My podiatrist suggested that I quit walking and focus on swimming and biking.  Yeah, right.

When my first son was born we walked for hours every day and it kept me sane.  It was also an easy way to get him to nap.  In the early days there wasn’t much else I could comfortably do and I’d read on the blog of a triathlete come mother-of-twins that the best advice she’d been given in the beginning was to get her boys and herself outside every day.  That became my mantra.  I gradually added back in running, then running with Baby A once he was big enough, then swimming and spin classes once he was old enough to be left at the Y childcare, then eventually the occasional bike ride when I had a sitter or my husband was home.  That was the progression, but first there was walking.

This time my life it busier with a three year old and new baby, but my older son is either in school or happy to ride his scooter alongside me and the stroller, so we are once again walking.  I’ve also added an amazing program I came across when researching how to heal a diastasis recti, the gap that often happens during pregnancy between the two sides of the rectus abdominus muscle.  The MuTu System is “the complete body make-over for moms who want to shift the mummy tummy, heal their core and pelvic floor and get strong, fit and truly body confident inside & out.”  Sounds remarkable, right?  So far I’m finding that it is.

I’m on week three of the program and am taking my time, stretching each week’s program longer than a week and not beating myself up if I miss a day.  I’m making an effort to do my core work every evening and had cleaned up my diet until I discovered the insanely delicious chocolate almond croissant at my neighborhood’s new Arsicault Bakery.

I feel incredibly good, both physically and mentally, and I think my body is pulling itself back together even faster than it did the first time!

  

don’t text and walk

I almost stepped in two fresh piles of doggy poo while walking as I checked my phone to determine which bus to take to the pool today. Why is it so difficult to clean up after one’s pet?!

I found my bus, then, thanks to directions from my cousin (given in Hebrew!), I found an indoor heated pool at Jimmy’s Health Club on the fourth floor of the enormous Dizengoff Center mall.

I figured out where to pay and how much (my 3rd Hebrew interaction of the day!) then found the changing room and stuffed myself into a hot pink maternity swimsuit. I felt like a big bright balloon. I’ve been wearing a bikini plus sun shirt for my outdoor swims but this seemed easier today. If you too are pregnant and want to look like a hot pink balloon gliding across the pool you can find the suit and my review here

My swim (in a narrow lane by myself) went extremely quickly but I found it annoying to switch directions every 20 meters instead of 50, like at Gordon Pool.

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I also really missed the saltwater and, surprisingly, sharing a lane with others who are constantly either in my way or trying to pass me. The warmer temperature, as compared to the cold saltwater, was a welcome change to me today but if I’d been moving faster than my pregnant paddle I would have been too warm.

If you’re in the area and want to find this pool, enter the Dizengoff Center near the huge guitars shop then take the glass elevator to the right up to the fourth floor. Follow the signs that look like this

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then pay in the office to the left. 70nis as of today. The bottom word, starting with the second letter, means pool.

If the lanes are full you should add your name to the waitlist on the dry erase board.

Overall, I recommend Gordon Pool over this one. It’s only slightly more expensive for a much more interesting experience!

morning yoga

I love mornings in Tel Aviv. After the early garbage trucks make their rounds, there is a short quiet period before the city wakes up. My boys were sleeping soundly this morning when my alarm went off so I tiptoed into the office and put down my yoga mat. I found the most wonderful prenatal yoga practice on YouTube and enjoy doing it every few days while I’m away from my regular class. It’s the best combination of static and movement I’ve found online, doesn’t cater to the annoying “you’re pregnant so you can’t do…” mentality and is completely appropriate for all stages of pregnancy. It’s taught by a beautiful pregnant woman beside a peaceful blue pool and it’s the perfect start or end to my day.

This morning as I was nearing the close of my practice, I heard a little voice yell, “Ima, are you in there?”. I opened the door and invited my fire truck pajama-clad two year old in for the final few minutes. He jumped onto my mat and joined me for deep breathing squats, a few standing poses and a final downward dog. He has perfected down dog with just his feet and head on the ground, arms flying in the air behind him. What fascinated him the most however was the woman on the screen doing yoga on top of the water. Try as I might, I couldn’t convince him she was next to the pool, not on top of it.

I asked him if he’d like to do shivasana with me and he obediently lay down on his back and closed his eyes. In less than 30 seconds he informed me we were all done so we sat up and did namaste ohmms. If you’ve never seen a two year old put his hands together, scrunch his eyes closed and chant ohmm, I highly recommend it. Tops my cuteness list for sure!

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25 week belly

I gave myself a serious pep-talk before plunging into the icy water today. A late afternoon haze already covered the sun and the wind was picking up. Today was my coldest swim yet but I knew after the initial shock I would enjoy it.

These days I often feel short of breath when I’m standing or laying down but when I’m actually moving, I feel great. I think the baby loves our swims also. The rocking motion must put him to sleep because I never feel movement when I’m in the water. I also suspect that my big belly, in combination with the salt water is making me more buoyant.

A few notable moments from my past swims:
1. Woman in tiny bikini, high heals & big headphones prances onto the pool deck. Puts her bag down then sashays to the edge of the pool and, butt toward lap lanes, shimmies in the sunlight. Men swimming are gulping for air & forgetting to swim.
2. I pass slow guy in front of me who refuses to let me pass at wall. He immediately sprints past me then pulls in front of me and resumes annoyingly slow pace. Sorta like the drivers here.
3. All the women in the locker room love to walk around naked, chatting with one another and on their phones. All (no matter age) wear sexy underthings.
4. Although I’m pregnant I’m still moving faster and swimming with better technique than most everyone around me. Bragging? Who, me?

the workout:
1 kilometer freestyle every time, no drills

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