Archive for August, 2010

August 30, 2010

What we talk about

I walked with the girls to the actors’ housing today (because our beloved Sarah Hankins had just moved in). We walked through our beloved neighbor’s property to get there.

The girls and I chatted, held hands, talked about them getting braces and going into Middle School. I love running with my son and my girlfriends, it’s true. And I love walking with my daughters too.

I love the ease of conversation when you run or walk. It’s very high quality sharing time with kids.

I don’t really know why. It’s not that what we share is so deep. I think it has something to do with not being interrupted by phone calls or responsibilities. When we talk at home, there’s always dinner to cook, homework to do, cleaning to be done.

The tasks when you are in your home are sisyphean. (I love using that word!) But the talking on a walk meanders.

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August 22, 2010

An Homage to Breastfeeding

Let’s say you’re like me – someone who looks for joy.

I cannot let August slip away without mentioning the joy I felt breastfeeding. This is National Breastfeeding Month, as I am occasionally reminded by some mother I follow on Twitter.

Breastfeeding not only feels awesomely good for the mother, because you’re so close to such a warm, loving body, but the bliss on the baby’s face – that Milk Dud look – means that the little one is enjoying the bonding too. Physically we are just wired to love the feeling.

I am not a fanatic. I nursed my boy for seven month and my twin girls for a year. (We were moving a lot that year, from NYC to the Adirondacks to San Francisco back to NYC and I wanted to give the girls something they could count on – a warm breast! Plus, it was much easier to pack my boobs than a bunch of bottles!)

I encourage every pregnant woman who is considering breastfeeding to please, please, please, do it. You won’t regret it.

Yes, it might be hard at first for a newborn to figure out the latching on reflex.

So, I relied on professionals to validate me. When I had just given birth and was still at the hospital those first couple of days, every time a nurse walked by, I would call out, “Hey, am I doing this right?” I would nod at the little guy at my breast.

“Yes,” she’d usually say. But if she said, “No, it looks like he’s fallen asleep,” then I’d learn how to break the hold and latch him on again. Having another woman affirm my ability made me feel confident.

I also want to say that I think the whole nipple confusion worry is overblown. Every day I nursed the girls and not only did they get mother’s milk, but they also got at least one bottle of formula. They never refused nipple or bottle. They were just happy to be fed.

I hated pumping. I felt very, very embarrassed from the first time I ever tried it and never got the hang of it. I did not want anyone to see me doing it. (Although I could care less if anyone saw me breastfeeding.) I  felt like a cow hooked up to an automatic milking device. I wanted my little warm calf snuggled up to me, not a plastic funnel sucking up to me.

Breastfeeding so rocks. It is so good. It is so nice. I loved it. And I miss it. At the time and now ten years later, I’m so glad I did it.

Yes, this blog is about usually about fitness and running, but it’s also about health. By running, I am searching for a natural high. In breastfeeding, I found it. (Oxytocin is the feel-good hormone of breastfeeding.)

August 19, 2010

Last week I walked

When I was with all my siblings and their families for our family week in the Adirondacks, I walked miles every morning with my sister in laws, Heidi and Nicole.  Walking is better than running because you can really talk.

We talked about the contagion theory of exercise. I loved this article from the New York Times magazine a year ago…

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/13/magazine/13contagion-t.html

Good behaviors — like quitting smoking or staying slender or being happy — pass from friend to friend almost as if they were contagious viruses. The Framingham participants, the data suggested, influenced one another’s health just by socializing. And the same was true of bad behaviors — clusters of friends appeared to “infect” each other with obesity, unhappiness and smoking. Staying healthy isn’t just a matter of your genes and your diet, it seems. Good health is also a product, in part, of your sheer proximity to other healthy people.

So, because I am altruistic (and not at all vain. No, not me), I am walking, running, swimming, doing Yoga and Pilates, for my friends, family, my wider circle. I am not working out for myself. I am doing it for all of you.

Okay, I feel good when I work out too. I’ll admit it — I do it for my own sanity. Last night for some reason, I was in a bit of a funk. I was missing my kids. I wanted to be where they were, but the city is a drag for kids in the summer. After work, I went to the JCC to swim. I told myself, You only have to do eight laps. I have no idea why I always tell myself,  Do eight laps. In any size pool, that’s my goal — eight. It’s manageable. But I did much more than eight. I walked in the pool too, punching the water in front of me, like a crazy aqua aerobics lady. I did 20 sit ups on the side of the pool.

I felt much better.

Exercise is better than anti-depressants. But it takes longer and you have to change clothes when you do it.

August 6, 2010

Crying at the Sky

I was in yoga on Saturday morning. Because it was Heritage Day, we could not meet at the Heritage House. So we met on the band shell of Ballard Park. It was a little like being on stage. Well, it was like that because we were on stage.

Almost everything that Michael, the teacher, says during class is brilliant. He said that in a new translation of the Upanishads, published in 2008, a line was written, “Hope is never false.” And he was making a political statement. 2008 was about hope. Hope is never false.

Wow. His July theme for the yoga classes was independence. Because Independence Day can be celebrated for days beyond the 4th of July. It can be any day. It can be every day.

I looked up at the sky from the band shell. I think I was in warrior pose. The white clouds were striated. The blue sky was almost too blue. I started to cry. I have no idea why. The beauty of the sky does that to me sometimes. I cry during church when the choir sings too. I don’t know why. I am an intellectual. There are times when yoga, a cloud or music sneaks past my intellect and makes a direct hit for my heart. Or maybe it’s my soul.