Retiring and Responding

I’m trying to retire. Nope, not from running. On the contrary, I’m eating, sleeping, reading (the hilarious Let’ forums mostly) breathing and talking running. And running. I’m running way more than I ever have, six days per week, 35 miles or so, a lot for me, my first double digit long run in there, and I love it. I’m on a running binge.

But I’m trying to retire my boobs. It’s going…slowly. I’ve been trying to decrease day nursings down as far as Henry will allow without making a big deal over it. I figure it has to be a gradual process, and he’s only 13 months old. I don’t want a traumatic abrupt process, I just want to be done. Soon. Even if the whole thing takes six months. Night weaning is another bear, and I haven’t gotten to that yet. I’m happy to leave the going to bed nursing for a bit. There have been a lot of days in the past two weeks that he didn’t nurse at all until 6 pm or so. He eats a ton of food but doesn’t love whole milk.

I know they don’t need whole milk, but I tried the vanilla organic milk boxes and he’s so-so on those. He’d rather drink water and juice and eat cheese and yogurt. The problem is nursing is not just about sustenance. It’s all about comfort and going to sleep. I never realized when I was so eager to be successful at breastfeeding a year ago that once you’re in…it’s not so simple to get OUT. He doesn’t take a pacifier and doesn’t sleep without nursing. It’s going to a long, complex road I’m sure but I’m heading down it. I’ve even considered giving him a BOTTLE, anything to as an interim step to get him used to sleeping OFF of me, somehow.

I’m still not really sure how to do all this. None of my friends have any advice. They either supplemented a lot of with bottles early on, so that by the time their babies were a year old they were already weaned in the sense that they weren’t used to nursing in an on demand way. The standard advice to “reduce feedings one by one for a week at a time” is useless, bordering on the absurd for me. Henry is 13 months old, he never had a feeding schedule to begin with, never mind now. And anyway the problem isn’t just reducing FEEDING, it’s not even about feeding. It’s about attachment, and comfort, and habit, and sleep. It’s hard.

Although now that it’s getting cold and he had his bad breathing virus experience I’m thinking if he gets even a bit of breast milk over this winter it won’t be so bad. The spring may be a better time to go completely without the immunity. Who knows how much immune boosting he gets from the amount of nursing we do now though? He is croupy coughing right now as I type this. I’m getting worried it’s going to be one of those winters.

But I really want to sleep all night. It’s been 13 months. Blegh. Anyway, running. I love running. I think my training plan is working. Whenever I run without the jogging stroller I hit my paces and feel pretty good. Stringing together seven something miles in the middle of longer runs, on tired legs, or as repeats in a speed workout gives me some confidence that on a taper in a few weeks I can reach my goal: a 10K PR.

That means I have to break 50 minutes, and run 6.2 miles at about 8 flat pace, maybe 7:50. I know I CAN do it. The question is, can I on that day? Will I be up 45 times the night before? Will I have a good race? Can I finally get a new personal best after almost two years of pregnancy and then lackluster post-partum running?

One weird thing I’ve been doing lately on runs is kind of mentally envisioning myself as what I want to be: a good runner. An athlete. A runner. I say to myself, you are a runner. You have the ability. You have a good Vo2 Max (lol). You are a good training RESPONDER.

That's a Destiny's Child song, no?

You can get fast.

And for better or worse, I believe it.

I came across this test that can supposedly measure your genetic potential to RESPOND to aerobic training. I pitched it as a story idea to a magazine I write for, which would then mean I’d be the guinea pig and would get the test done.

But I wouldn’t want to know. What if the test results came back and said: You are Low Responder? How demoralizing would that be? The test makers defend the utility of this, arguing that if you know you are a low responder, you can focus on other things, like weight training or cross training or overall fitness and not a futile kind of quest to run 80 miles per week and then wonder why you aren’t getting faster.

But me? I don’t want to know. I’m going to run through the woods, pretending-believing that my potential is unlimited.

I’m going to keep getting better. Even if better goes in a circle and it just means I keep coming back to where I was before, but with more wrinkles, and gray hairs, and war stories behind me. Even if it means a measly seven second new personal best, this time with no sleep.

I’m a responder.


How about you? Would you take that test? Would it bother you if it said you were a LOW responder?


Filed under Life & Style, Parenting, Running and Racing

6 Responses to Retiring and Responding

  1. I started reading this and was thinking, “I should ask her about how she night weaned.” Then I kept reading. =)

    But seriously, I have discussed this with my husband, about how I do love nursing, but that it is such a double edged sword. They want what they want…and for mine, exactly the moment he wants it…not 2 seconds later, do not stall, or he will be screaming. I have considered how it might be easier to pump and do bottles the entire time, but we’ll see.

    I think I’ll feel better about it when I can get him down to one nursing a night….or none at all, but I can’t even imagine how that will go over. Willful kids. Gotta love them!

    • admin

      Please don’t assume my crazy experience will be yours. I bet you will have a lovely time, seems like you are doing awesome right now!

  2. I am with you…no need to know. I just want to enjoy running however fast or slow I go. I have a pretty good idea that I am a low responder just from my own observations. I like your mental outlook on being an athlete and having awesome VO2 Max :-)

  3. Lauren

    I am in the midst of trying to wean right now and it is not going well. It’s not really a nighttime issue for us as I’m basically only nursing him when he wakes up at 4am. This will get him back to sleep until 7 or 8 so I will gladly continue that nursing session. It’s every other time he wants to nurse that we are having trouble with. I get gone from work at 2:30 every afternoon and he is ready to nurse every single day. Today I actually tried to offer him a snack and distract him in an attempt to get serious about weaning and he basically cried and clawed at me until I gave in. It was too heartbreaking. He nurses before I leave for work, when I get home, before bed, and at 4am. Clearly this whole weaning thing is not going well! No one has any words of advice for me because everyone I know was done before a year or relied on bottles. I know I need to start with the feeding that is least important to him, which I’m assuming is the mid-afternoon one…but so far no luck. It is definitely a comfort thing for him, although he’s not a great eater yet so I’m sure he’s also using it to fill up. I’m so tired of the comments people make. I know I need a thicker skin. It just seems like so many people think it’s abnormal to still be nursing after his first birthday. I can shrug off the strangers, but family comments really get to me. Anyway, sorry I have no advice! I just keep hoping he’ll just wean himself. He’s gotta get tired of it sometime right?!

    • admin

      We were doing pretty good with day time nursing until he got sick. But him being sick makes me reluctant to push the issue in general. I’d rather go slow and take his cues, especially if he needs nursing for immunity or just cause he’s feeling crummy. And honestly a ton of people nurse past one year, even those who don’t go all the way four years old Blossom style.

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