Friday, January 31, 2014

A Day at a Time

(Our First Christmas)
               I can’t believe the first month of the New Year is already over! Each day now blends into the next as weekends and weekdays are basically the same for me. I left off my last blog with our trip to Nevada to visit Levi’s family. We lucked out as neither of our flights was completely full so we were able to bring Lilyana’s car seat on and have a row to ourselves. She did really well. It was a short flight, only two hours and though she didn’t cry it still was a lot of work. I don’t know how people travel on longer flights! On the flight home she had an accident 15 minutes after takeoff and I had the wonderful opportunity to use the tiny airplane bathroom to change her and her clothes. Unfortunately I had to wait until I got home to change mine; she definitely broke me in to flying with a baby! Expect the unexpected and even when you do I’m sure the baby will still find a way to throw you through a loop.
(She entertained herself for some of the flight)
                Levi, Lilyana and I had our first Christmas with just the three of us. Usually we are either with my family or his family on Christmas day but this year we chose to go earlier as flights are a lot cheaper if you go at the beginning of December. It was really nice and I am excited for upcoming Christmas’s when Lilyana will be able to take part more and know what is going on. At least I have a few years to get some fun traditions started.
                My favorite Christmas memory was on Christmas Eve. My Mom would fill our stockings then sneak them into our rooms at night, placing them at the foot of our beds. When I was little I would try to stay awake so I could catch her in the act but deep down I didn’t want to catch her. The excitement happened when I would wake up, wiggle my feet, and hear the crunch of wrapping paper and goodies in my stocking at the foot of my bed. As I got older she continued the tradition until I think it was later in high school or maybe even when I came home from college on Christmas vacation, she left them filled by the tree. I remember waking up and even though I knew she wasn’t planning on putting them in the bed, I still wiggled my feet and waited for the crunch that never came. I was surprised to find I was a little bummed but knew I didn’t really “need” it anymore. I think the sadness comes in knowing you are growing up and your family is changing. It is now rare that we have my whole family together around the Holidays as most of my siblings are married and splitting holidays between their new families or like Levi and I, have started their own and will soon be creating their own holiday traditions. It is bitter sweet. The memories are wonderful but I wouldn’t want to stay in one moment forever. Each stage of my life I find that I like it “the best.” I enjoy making new memories and I am excited to pass this tradition on to my children and create warm memories for them that they will someday remember fondly and possibly pass on to their children.
                For “The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour whatever he does, whoever he is.”--C.S. Lewis.
(Lilyana believes in us! "Go Dad!")
                Now into the New Year: My training has been going well. I am still slowly building. It can be hard some days and a little daunting I must admit when I think of how far I have to go to get myself competition ready but all I can do is take things a day at a time and make the most of each day. There have been some days when all my energy is spent caring for Lilyana and I cannot fathom the idea of competing at an elite level again. But then there are other days where I know it is possible. I need to not get too caught up in the emotions of the day to day for they can change as quickly as Lilyana can go from happy to screaming and back. One minute I am unstoppable and will conquer the world, the next I am hearing myself say there is no way I can do it all. I start to think about the future, planning for other children and wonder if I am being selfish to even try to plan this around this game of running. Because deep down the most important thing to me is my family. It’s funny how things have changed, going from the highlight of my career at the Olympic Trials to being pregnant with my first baby all in the same year, what I used to deem of high importance in my life I now see really is not that big of a deal. Now I am not saying that I will not be working my butt off to get back to that level, it’s just that if things don’t work out, or I find I cannot balance both and be a good Mom, then I am o.k. with dialing things down and changing my focus. I feel very satisfied with my running career and I think that puts me in a good place for training.
(Keeping things in perspective by having fun. My Lily face.)

                This past week marked my first week back of “official” training under my coach and younger brother John Ricardi. My week’s mileage was only 20 running miles with one day of an hour cross training on the spin bike and two lifting sessions. It really isn’t any different from the weeks I was “winging” it before but I do better when I have a plan laid out. I like seeing what I have coming up throughout the week, then I am better able to plan for the workouts and get them in. It is extremely helpful to have this now that my days are somewhat of a blur and I am not really on a schedule anymore, just Lilyana’s schedule which can change at the flip of a switch. Having a training plan helps put me back on a schedule. When I would take a day off from exercising I would feel “guilty” for having not gotten something done. My schedule this week gave me 3 days off from running and I did not feel an ounce of guilt when I took them. If it’s written down then it’s o.k. to do!
(Lilyana's pre-crawl training)
                Lilyana’s training has been going great. If I had leaps and bounds like she does from day to day I would already be running Olympic A standards! It is cool to see a baby go through and hit their little milestones. She now flips over effortlessly, gets onto her hands and knees and rocks and does a sort of inch worm to get places. She is semi mobile by rolling, scooting her legs in, lying down, and repeating until she gets where she wants to be. She laughs heartily at my silliness, loves looking at her hands, grabs things, and chews on everything. She loves splashing in the bath and pulling my hair. She loves to babble and try out her range of vocal cords and strength of lungs. So don’t be surprised if I say “What?” a lot when in conversation. She can sit up o.k. but not really without assistance. If I put my fingers out she will grab them and pull herself up to sitting. She surprised me the other day by holding onto the top of her play mat and standing. She did not pull herself up to standing but I was holding her and when I went to sit her down she wouldn’t sit so I let go and she was standing on her own, holding onto the toy for balance and support.
                It brings me great joy to have her in my life and to see Levi being a Father. I feel so blessed. When I look into her smiling face even on the roughest day, when I am feeling exhausted, apprehensive about the future, and disheveled, all is right with the world.  I can’t help but smile when I see her gummy grin. I am smiling right now just thinking about it.

(Love this girl!)