Mission Accountable Day 8: A tempo run and finding places to pump

Today I had a tempo run on the schedule. At 6am I hit snooze, but at 6:09 I was out of bed. The only thing that kept me from hitting it a second time was the fact that I have a long run this weekend that I have to do on the treadmill and as much as I love watching Mad Men while I work out, I don’t love it enough to willingly run 22 miles on the treadmill over the course of three days. So I was up before the sun, Dan, and Sweet Pea yet again. Minus the getting out of bed part, I actually really enjoy this time. I heard only the sweet sound of silence coming from Sweet Pea’s room so I took my time getting ready. By 6:45 though, I was getting antsy, having still heard nothing from her. I debated waking her versus pumping for about 5 seconds before deciding on the former. I try to be flexible, but getting home by the time Dan leaves for work is a non-negotiable.

Today was the first legit cold day we’ve had all year. Despite my numb fingers and wishing I’d taken the time to locate my gloves, it was still glorious. Don’t get me wrong, I love the bright blue sunny skies we enjoy most of the year here (shhh don’t tell anyone how awesome it is in Colorado), but there’s something about a heavy gray cloud cover and the bite of damp, chilly air, that I love. I can’t say why, but if I had to guess, it’s probably because it reminds me of home. The problem with home (Rhode Island) is that you have to endure this weather for about four months straight, and that’s about three months and three weeks too much for me.

I warmed up for about 15 minutes and then got into the meat of the workout, which was: three miles at tempo pace, twice, separated by a two minute easy jog. With a short cool down, I logged 8.37 miles.  I chose a new route this morning. Normally I do an out and back for this type of workout, but I didn’t feel like doing the same 1.5 mile out and back four times. Instead, I opted for a loop around a pond, which I estimated to be about a mile. During my warmup, I discovered it was only .75 miles. I wasn’t too keen on running around the pond eight times in a row, but on the plus side, there were no intersections, stop signs, or other interferences beyond my having to occasionally move around packs of high school students using the path to walk to school.

My legs felt fresh and snappy, despite the fact that my hamstrings were still a bit sore from my track workout on Tuesday. I averaged an 8:05/mile pace for both 3 mile segments. Yay for consistency! This pace felt a LOT easier than it did last week, despite the fact that I held it for longer this time.  It feels good to be getting fitter and faster!

Meanwhile, I was supposed to be an expert witness in court today for a patient for whom I performed a functional capacity evaluation. I was a bit nervous about having to testify in court for the first time; it is my understanding that the defense attorney would try to destroy my credibility and discredit my findings by attempting to flummox me on the stand during cross examination. I was far less concerned about being flustered on the witness stand than I was about pumping, as I would be away from Sweet Pea for the entire afternoon.

Where would I pump? When would I pump? How would I explain my situation?  As it turned out, I needn’t have worried. The night before, I gathered my courage and mentioned my situation to the attorney whose client I would be testifying on over the phone. As nervous as I was about discussing my breasts with a male professional contact whom I’d not yet met in person, it went fine. He assured me it would be no problem to take a 15 minute break at some point during the afternoon. My next challenge was finding a place in which to do it. My car was a bad option because I was parked a couple blocks from the building. The bathroom was a bad option because, well, it’s a bathroom. So I talked to the attendant at the front desk who was, of course, a man. I put on my big girl panties and explained about the breastfeeding thing and with no hesitation, he hooked me up with an empty conference room. He unlocked it for me, promised it would be free all afternoon, and told me I could even lock myself in there. Score!

Are you still reading? Because it gets better. I called the hotel where I am attending a continuing education course tomorrow to find out where I might be able to pump, other than my car or the bathroom. To my surprise, the lady on the phone was like, “I get it. I did that for a year and I never used a bathroom. I refused to do that.” She put me on hold three times, but before I got off the phone, she promised that she would leave me a key to one of the empty hotel rooms and that it would be designated “the nursing room” and all I had to do was come up to the front desk in the morning and ask about it.

I have no issues with nursing in public (as far as I am concerned this is a normal, natural way for a baby to eat, and if it makes someone else uncomfortable, it’s their problem, not mine. It’s really a shame that we live in a culture where breasts are celebrated as a sexual thing- mannequins even have nipples- but a nursing mom is expected to cover up and be discreet about using her breasts for WHAT THEY WERE DESIGNED TO DO, lest, God forbid, anyone SEE A NIPPLE. Would the world end if anyone SAW A NIPPLE? I shudder to think…).

Yet I feel awkward about pumping. With nursing, I just do it and whoever doesn’t like it can look the other direction. With pumping in public, though, you have to discuss your whole situation with a stranger, who may or may not have any knowledge of anything to do with breastfeeding. Then you are at their mercy as far as whether they will accommodate your request or not. That said, it has gotten easier every time I’ve done it.

I wish I had found this on the internet, but I didn’t, so I had to come up with it myself. So if I can make your life a little easier- here you go- this is what I say to someone when I have to figure out the pumping thing: I have a baby and I’m breastfeeding, but the baby will not be with me/obviously is not here. Do you know of a private place I could go, perhaps an empty office or conference room, where I could use my breastpump for about 15 minutes at a time? Ideally there would be a place to sit and an electrical outlet. That’s all you have to say! Then you can exhale and the person will help you. It’s that easy.

Just curious, do you find it awkward talking to strangers about pumping? Any tips for dealing with this? Where is the strangest place you have pumped?

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