January 06, 2012

Snowed Under

Yes, we have been snowed under. Figuratively, but also literally. One is likely to last, although not necessarily the one I would have chosen, the other one is already something of the past, at least in town. 

My November runs (at least the weekend ones, when I have more time) went something like this : 

"Running" in the  Glières range at week 20.
Incidentally, this photo was taken at the end of my 20th week, and although I'd love to pretend running uphill felt like a walk in the park... well, it did not, and the rather steep uphill section involved a fair bit of fast walking, not to take any chances of the baby getting less oxygen that it'd like to.  This was mid-November, there was no snow forecast, and to be fair, this year, I was quite happy about it, since 1. it ies easier to fit in one hour of running than the few hours needed for a ski outing, 2. I had not planned my pregnant training regimen to include loads of skiing at this stage of pregnancy anyway.

Pretty much exactly a month later... and still no snow. By that time last year, Annecy itself was under the deep layer of snow, I was running at lunchtime with my Yaktrax, and had had my first cycling accident cycling to work from day care and sliding on black ice. This year... nothing, so a run up Mont Veyrier, overlooking Annecy and the lake, it would be.

The Annecy lake from 1400m on Dec 12, , and still  so snow
Nothing on the snow front, but, unlike snow, some things arrive when they are due, including a getting-rounder-and-rounder belly. 
The view on Annecy lake slightly obstructed by a week 24 belly
Then, then... One morning, as I woke up, "It" was there,eventually!

"It" being, luckily, the snow, not the baby : I may be happy if the baby is a few days early, but still some three months away from my due date, the baby is very welcome to stay warm and cozy inside.

I am not ecstatic about snow in the city this year round. Last year already, it meant no running in the city for 2-3 weeks, and this year, guess why, I feel more vulnerable. And since there are right now two things I want to avoid at all costs, namely falling on ice while running but also having to run on a treadmill (in fact, I think I'd rather not run than run on those machines. And anyway, due to new house and new job and therefore little extra cash, a gym membership is not on the agenda), I want to see asphalt rather than snow on my doorstep.

On that first weekend of snow, it was quite easy, however, to find a nice alternative to running without going too far away, and we settled for Mont Veyrier once again.

Up Mont Veyrier once again, although it does look like a different mountain this time round.

Same running tights,same headband, same backpack as a week earlier. A rounder belly. however... and more snow in my shoes, the result of being a pregnant chick with a brain in sleep-mode who forgets that, when planning to go snow shoeing in knee-high fresh powder, gaiters are a useful gadget.

An impressive storm a few days earlier had also provided some major obstacles for somebody who now struggles a bit with shoes lacing, and, as I found out during our hike, bending in half to get under fallen trees.

"Parkour"-like snowshoeing!

A week or so later, and we were off to the Southern Alps for some family Xmas holidays. No alpine skiing for me, although I had packed my gear, since the resort turns out to be full and the runs far too busy for comfort/safety.

Instead, it would be...

... running, dressed a bit like Santa, and having pushed perfectionnism to a new level with a belly a bit like his, too...

Note to myself : when pregnant, do not leave for run on hard snow trails full of potholes when night is about to fall
... Snowshoeing in the Ecrins range, a super workout when pregnant, not to mention an ego booster when easily overtaking the only other hikers on that itinerary, them panting, us not (my athletic performance not giving much risk of an over-inflated ego these days, I did indulge guilt-free on that one occasion)...

Under the glacier at Lac de la Douche
... and pushing up to the pass, some 250 - steep - metres than what was initially planned. We were greeted there by a bitterly cold wind, which I did not suffer from nearly as much as Martin, thanks to my additional "layer"... while, due to cumulated stress,  he's on the contrary recently lost 4 kgs that were certainly not extra.

Down from Col d'Arsine
And, last but not least, since I could not ski and somebody had to babysit, I had to take Malo sledging. I just love sledging, and must admit that, on our first attempt with Malo last year, the mum had much more fun than the 1 year old who was providing her with the excuse for indulging.

Sledging with Malo proved to be a bit of a disappointment though.

"moi tout seul, Maman"
Not that he did not like it. In fact, he liked it so much the week's motto rapidly became "moi tout seul".

So Malo on the sledge by himself it had to be, with Maman realising she had just relinquished one of her last chances for a bit of pregnant fun.

January 03, 2012

Like investment banking. Just worse.

It may have been a great experience but I don't look at my time in investment banking as the most stress-free and balanced time of my life. I can give you a pretty extensive list of all the positives about that job.  But truth be told, came a time when these positives could not any longer outweighs the minuses, the largest of which was how busy, running out of time and juggling with dozens of things simultaneously, I constantly was.

Our daily routine right now is a bit like being back in investment banking.

Just worse.

At the time, life could be summarised to pretty much one thing : work and running. Days would be : get to work between 8- 9am, leave around midnight on a good day, not at all on a less-good one, and fit at least an hour of running on the work gym's treadmill in between. When time became slighly more of a commodity, I just added climbing and yoga to the running. Plain and simple.

Looking back at the last few months, it is amazing how much we managed to put on our plate.

It all started when I left my job last Spring. A blessing, for sure, but one which meant that, quickly, I needed to find a fall-back position, as it seemed we could sadly not omit the fact that, job or no jobs, bills needed to be paid. Shame, I know. 

Then, at the beginning of summer and after 2 years of looking around and probably something close to 40 visits, it seemed we had found a house that 1. we liked enough to consider making an offer on (rare), 2. may be in our price range (even rarer). Cool, but it made the job situation even more of an issue, and, since then, our days pretty busy.  Checking whether we could really afford it.  Convincing mortgage provider we could really afford it. Debating future work to be done. Debating how much to offer. Debating if said offer would be accepted.  Debating, following acceptation of offer, whether we would eventually exchange contracts. Exchanging contracts. Starting dealing with architect, builders, contractors. Feeling we are way out of our comfort zone here. And the list goes on.

Very cool house, and we're very fortunate, but boy, I sometimes wish wehad bought something we could straight in!
Then of course, in the midst of all this, I found out I was pregnant. Not that this came as a surprise (I mean, we did work on it). But unlike the relatively stress-free pregnancy #1, it immediately looked that this one may not only be about sitting running around and watching my belly grow.

First, there is Malo, who may be a super easy-going little Monsieur, but needs his fair share of attention (which I am more than happy to give, being the Mother Hen that I am ). Second there is work. The intent here is to try and get a few clients which could provide repeat business, so that, 1. it pays the bills (see above), 2. I can capitalise of this after the birth of #2, when prospecting and marketing may prove a bit challenging (unless in the space of 3 months it becomes OK to turn up at a meeting breastfeeding a newborn). Let's face it, I think I could have chosen a better time to start my own business. Third, there is the new house, which is eating up a lot of my time. Bottom line is, I am snowed under, even without mentioning my attempts at trying to fit some runs in. I do manage to get outside, sometimes, but comparing my weekly activities with that I had when expecting Malo would make me feel like a lazy b*** if I did not know better.

So yes, the good old investment banking life feels a bit like a walk in the park, these days. Fitting in 18-hour work days and a fair amount of running. Phew, easy. Life today is so much worse...

Except I am lying.

It is not worse.

It is indeed busier, if that's possible. It does indeed get frustrating at times, because I miss my running and also hate the feeling of trying to do too many things at once and not doing a good job at any.

But worse? God, no!

I just need to think at the little one growing in my belly, and imagine him/her running around in our new garden or going up the mountain behind our new home. I just need to think about, how, if things work out alright, working for myself will hopefully give me, in the not too distant future, a job I like, time for my kids and time for sports. And most of all, I just need to think that, if I am lucky, like his/her brother, #2 will tell me, as soon as he/she sees me putting my running shoes on : "moi aussi, Maman, courir", while looking for his own running shoes... and it immediately feel so worth it!

(Now if on top of this I could get a few repeat clients before April, and if getting quotes from the builders could be a bit less of a pain, I swear I would not mind).