Thursday, December 5, 2013

Postpartum running

It's such a relief that running is getting - slowly - back to normal.

(insert obvious disclaimer here - baby is more important, baby is worth it, no changes are ever permanent, et cetera, et cetera, ad infinitum)

My first post baby run was two really hard, really slow miles. And I ached soooo much after it - I felt it in my quads, my butt, my calves...I was so discouraged and felt like I may as well be starting over with week 1 of the Couch to 5K, which is where I started.

Honestly, that wouldn't be terrible. I tend to expect a lot of myself, particularly when I work hard at something. And I've only been running since August '12. But I've discovered how much I love it, how much fun I have doing it and the sense of accomplishment it brings, both getting it done and getting better. Selfishly I didn't want to backslide, at least not too far!

So finding that my runs are getting easier is a relief. I've now had 7 post-baby runs - last night I ran 5K and ran 3 very consistent miles. I've run 2 miles 3x, 2.5 miles once, and 3 miles 3x. The 2 milers were always slow but consistent but when I bumped it up to 3 it was rough, my M/M were super incosistent. My turkey trot last week was 11.5, 13, 12.5! All over the place. But my run last night was 12:29, 12:18, 12:31 which is both a huge step up in speed from 2 weeks ago, and a lot more consistent than I expected. My endurance isn't's just...stubborn? Haha!

My plan for this week is a 3 miler on Friday and another Sunday. I decided I'm going to focus on getting my walking intervals down/shorter/away before I work on adding distance - I am so much stronger than when I first started that I think running without intervals is definitely feasible for me now.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Grant Park Turkey Trot

First postpartum race - complete! I ran the Grant Park Turkey Trot on 11/30 - it was my sixth post partum run and my first postpartum race. retrospect planning to do my first race that soon, just 2 months after having a c-section, was maybe a little ambitious. I first postpartum run was two hard, slow, fourteen-minute miles!

But for whatever reason, I really wanted to do this race. It was hosted by All Community Events and I ran their Long Grove Turkey Trot 8K last year while my husband did their Schaumburg Turkey Trot HM. Both events were smoothly run and the fleece they gave for running was nice too. The medal for his half-marathon was sort of ugly, but other than that there really weren't any complaints about either race. Packet pickup had been great, the course well marked, and post-race food well organized.

This year my husband ran the North Shore Turkey Trot to get the extra freebie as he'd run the North Shore Half in June, and I opted to run the Grant Park one. I chose it mostly because it was a distance that felt doable for me - and it came with a medal.* I usually won't look for 5Ks with medals, but right now I knew that was about all the distance I could handle - and my first post-baby race having a medal seemed perfect. The sweatshirt for this year looked really nice, too. As a bonus, there was a kid's dash for my almost-5 year old, and my husband spectated along with the baby. He even made a sign!

Now that the race is over I have a few thoughts and I'm going to break this down to the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

The Good:

+My best friend did it too! We didn't run together because our intervals don't match, but yay for races with friends.

+The medal! It's a nice one, I'm really happy with it. (Plus my daughter did the kid's dash and got her ribbon, but they had extra medals so when I asked, they let her have one. I think they've created another race addict, and she's not even 5.)

+Packet pickup was available on race day and was super easy and organized. It was hyper organized by bib # so it made it a breeze. Good job ACE!

+I ran it in 38:02 - which means despite only being back to running for 2 weeks I'm still faster than when I started. (My first 5K was 40:18 and my second two weeks later was 39:45)

+I ran the first mile in 11:37. ...maybe that shouldn't be on the good, as it was me going out too fast, but after the first PP mile was a hard 14 minutes, I'm glad I'm not too far from my fastest pre-baby mile.

+The weather was mid 30s and the wind was much better than I expected, so I was not freezing!

+The sweatshirt is much much nicer than last year. Despite getting a medium both years the one last year was so thick it felt almost constrictive - this one is still warm but thinner and more flexible, and a lot longer. I'm a fan.

+Race results for official times were up online before I even left the race.

The Bad:

-The course was the kind I -hate- - it was primarily a loop rather than an out and back, which is fine, except the end had an extra loop. It had you run right by the finish line - and then veer away for half a mile and come back. It was sort of, "Here's the finish line! Haha just kidding, go run another half mile." I knew it was coming and I knew I was only at 2.6, but it still sucked. At least this wasn't a half marathon - that would have been really irritating for a longer race.

-A bunch of people initially lined up on the wrong side of the start line, including me. I was so not impressed, because we were directed to the wrong side of the start line. How does that even happen? So. Not. Impressed.

The Ugly:

--The food - normal post race spread, water, bananas, cookies, fruit snacks, granola bars, plus apple cider - was insane to get. Unlike other events I'd been to where the finish line flowed into the food, the way they organized the course meant you had to go elsewhere. And unlike a lot of races I've been to - including their others! - there was only one food station. Which meant the line for food was insanely long and slow. 10-15 minutes of being in line for post race food isn't the end of the world, but really - I expected way better from them. They host events all year round and have tons of experience. Food is basic. And everyone in line was irritated. Taking so long to even get water after a race is just...cmon, ACE. You can do better.

Obviously there are a lot more good points than bad points, and I'm happy to be running again. I hope to get back to speed soon; I'm not sure how to proceed with training. Maybe 2-3 mile runs for another week or two and start adding a bit of distance for a long run on the weekends?** We'll see!

Right now my next race isn't scheduled until February. I'm not sure I can wait that long!

*I'm a medal-whore. I've always admitted that.

**Maybe, because I'm not sure how to handle burning a lot of calories right now. I'm nursing the baby and finding the right balance between eating enough good food to keep enough milk and eating the right amount to lose a bit of baby weight is tough - the days I burn more calories I am finding it much harder to find that balance. I may need to stick to 5 miles or less while he's little. ...and that's okay.

Friday, November 15, 2013

First post-partum run

I meant to write this yesterday, but my headspace wasn't great after my first run.

I was so excited to get out there!

I'm so excited, I just can't hide it...(and I was over-dressed, too! Note to self: Compression shirt not needed in 40 degree weather.)

I was only doing two miles because I haven't run in eons and yanno, just had abdominal surgery 6 1/2 weeks ago, so wanted to be conservative.

I have to admit though, I thought I was being overly conservative and that while I wouldn't be anywhere close to a PR...I thought I'd be about where I left off pregnant running.

What I didn't expect was to be slower than I'd ever been before. I struggled through running two 14 minute miles.

And while I've never been fast, 14 minute miles were disheartening. My husband and my best friend can both walk faster than that! I was so upset, and even wondered if getting pregnant had ruined my ability to run.

Today, I'm sore. My legs are sore - I can feel that I worked hard. Two miles was conservative, but my body needed it. I needed to start slow mileage wise and you know what..speed wise, yeah, I was slow. Oh well. I'll get faster. I won't be doing 14 minute miles forever. Two miles won't be this hard forever. I got to run again! I'm running again tomorrow.

And it feels so good to be back!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

I'm back! And I have a baby.

Well, Miles was born 9/30 :) He's 5 weeks old today and growing fast:

Knock on wood I should be cleared to run again in less than a week - I am super excited. For the past 2 weeks I've been mentally arranging a training plan to jump back into running - I can't wait! I'm going to start with a week of 2 mile runs and see how it goes. Pace doesn't matter - I just miss my me-time.

Life is going to change a bit when it comes to running though - I used to run while my daughter was at school but with my little running partner on the outside now, that's harder. Jogging strollers are expensive and I haven't quite figured out how to budget it and still afford to do any races, haha, so for now I'll be getting up early and running before my husband leaves for work. Long runs will be on the weekend. I hate mornings, so this will be tough - especially because in winter it is bloody cold out here. But I can live with that!

I also need to put together a race calendar. Right now the only races on my radar are the Grant Park 5K Turkey Trot on 11/30, the Cupid's Love Dash 10K on 2/9, and the Lincoln HM on 4/5. I'm open to suggestions! :)

Saturday, June 22, 2013

What's a running blog when you don't run?

...a walking blog?

I'm not even sure! But I haven't been able to run since the North Shore Half; not related to the half, but I'm now 25 weeks pregnant and babyboy is growth-spurting in a huge way. I'm not going to turn this into a solely pregnancy blog by any means, but let me just say...ouch. My abdominal muscles ache when I /walk/ right now - running is not my friend at the moment.

I miss it. I really, really do miss it. I look wistfully at races I'd love to run and get jealous when my friends run or my husband logs one more training run for the Chicago Marathon.

But at the same time, after having talked with my OB about what's going on, he said I'm at a point where a lot of women find they can't pick it back up. He said after the growth spurt ends and my abs get a slight break it's completely feasible I might be able to pick it back up. But...some women can't.

And knowing that, knowing how supportive he is of my just is what it is. I can't change it and even with a support belt my stomach aches. If the North Shore Half was my farewell to pregnant was a helluva high not to go out on. I'm even happier that I went out on a limb and went for it, undertrained or not, because it was SO much fun and was proof that my body is still mine, that I can still do things that I couldn't before - even pregnant.

Despite my fears, I'm not turning into a sloth either; in the past week I've walked over 30 miles. So I'm still moving. If we can figure out how to budget a gym pass I'll be able to swim and bike this summer. And if not I'll walk. And walk. And walk :)

The biggest difference between a year ago, when I had never yet run, and today, when I can't run, is that now - I know what I'm missing. And I can't wait until I can do it again.

But until then...I'll probably be a pretty quiet blogger.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

5 by the 5th - completed! Recap and sum of pregnant running..

Another milestone, it seems. Wayyyyy back in December I signed up for the 5 by the 5th Virtual Run Series run by Laura of Mommy Run Fast. The premise is exactly what it sounds like - run 5K or 5M by the 5th of the month, January through June. There's a finisher medal you can opt into too as long as you complete one of the six races, and not surprisingly, I opted in.

At the time I signed up I thought it was perfect - 5 mile was a normal weekday run for me and it would be nooooo problem to finish at all.

And January's run really was no issue - a slow 5K because I did a 13.1mile training run the day before, but no issue.

Running my first chip-timed half and LOVING it - no idea how much this race would change my life!

February wasn't a problem either - a very typical 5 mile run. Felt totally fine, a totally normal 13mm pace. The day after though...oh, the day after. The day after for the first time I did an 8 mile run, running with my husband - not that I hadn't run 8 miles before, but I usually don't run two days in a row. But my 5 mile had felt easy and how could I pass up a chance to run with my husband? I had thought my last opportunity would be at the Polar Dash, my very first half marathon. So we ran. And man - it was hard. It was so hard, it was slow, and just...I felt in over my head. Yeah, I had taken a week off after my half, but surely I hadn't lost that much fitness had I?! I thought it was a combo of no rest day, still recovering, and the cold, but I just couldn't seem to warm up.

Coming in at the finish line at my Cupid 10K, 6 weeks pregnant

Little did I know...3 days after that run, after wracking my brain trying to figure out why it was SO hard (harder than my half only 3 weeks earlier)...a random pregnancy test explained why that run was so tough. Pregnancy was supposed to be impossible and after going through hell to have my daughter, I believed that. It turned out we conceived at my very first half marathon...which is somehow both amazing and appropriate, as well as spawning the nickname of "Marathon" for the baby. A few days later I ran the Cupid 10K - my first race with baby :)

March's 5 miler ended up a normal pace but running was getting harder. I wasn't throwing up but morning sickness and fatigue were cutting miles out of my week and making the miles I got in harder. I did run a 5K race at the end of March that ended up going really well - not quite a PR but close, and as I began to close in on the end of the first trimester, morning sickness was going away. In a surprise to me, my running clothes stopped fitting though as my belly popped. Oops! I also managed to work in a virtual half marathon, the Shamrocks 4 Shannon, which I was pretty pleased with and predicted a finish time of around 3 for my half coming up the first week of April.

13 weeks pregnant and running the Egg Shell Shuffle 5K

April though...despite running a half that month, this is the only month of 5 by the 5th I had to skip. The fatigue was getting better but was hitting me so hard the first part of the day that I just didn't get many runs in! It's the black spot on my series record and while participating in all 6 wasn't mandatory, I had planned on it, darn it. -glares at blackspot- The half I ran in April wasn't much fun either because I set my expectations high and felt like my body let me down when I had to walk the last 3 miles. That unfortunately would set the tone for much of the next two months...I felt let down by my running. On a positive note, we found out that our little Marathon was a boy - hello, Miles Alexander!*

Okay, not really running, but a quick pause during the Lincoln HM at 14 weeks pregnant.

May continued the running slump, but I did work in both a 5K and a 5 miler at my normal pace & time. At least now being officially in the second trimester my energy levels were better, although my 5 mile race brought the news that I was anemic and needed an iron supplement - or I was going to be short of breath! Happily, one extra vitamin fixed this issue. Really, I didn't run much because of the battle in my head, not my body. I was both afraid that I was no longer a "runner" because I was slowing down and would soon not even be able to imitate a runner because runs were - while easier to get to because I wasn't tired - harder to do as my belly continued to grow. While I was still running at 5months pregnant, I felt like I was staring at the end - and I wasn't happy about it. I was making my peace with it, but I was regretful, too.

Crossing the finish line at the Cinco, 18 weeks pregnant. Race photo, all rights reserved to photographer.
And now it's June! Almost 6 months pregnant, I walked the 5K for 5 by the 5th this month, but only because on 6/2 I ran my second half marathon while pregnant (and had a blast!). I was hoping to get a 5K run in at least but I usually take a week off after a half, so wasn't surprised that I didn't. It's still early in the month, so who knows how I'll feel at the end, but right now I feel good. 23 weeks pregnant, still running - slowing down, but renewing my commitment to run while it feels good and walk while it doesn't. Being active is healthy, and I'm not going to let myself forget that again. I'm sad 5 by the 5th is over and hope Laura does it again in the future - I really liked it. Despite the April blemish, I feel like I earned the medal and can't wait to hang it :)

Okay - not actually running, but right after finishing the North Shore Half at 22 weeks pregnant

*And no, we didn't choose Miles because I run - we just knew it was his name!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

North Shore Half recap

Let me start out short and sweet: Finished, loved it, feel great - so glad I did this!

Longer version:

I wouldn't have been doing this race, but a friend of mine offered me her bib when she accidentally double booked herself for both the North Shore Half and a half out in San Diego. Unsurprisingly she opted for San Diego (and did awesome!) which left her bib for the North Shore Half open. This just seemed like fate - it was a race I really wanted to do but couldn't justify full price for because ... well... I couldn't run it competitively. I couldn't try for a PR. And I just felt like with as expensive as the race is, if I can't give it my all..we just couldn't justify paying for it :( I hated that because I really wanted to do it, but it made sense. My husband chose, after we decided that I couldn't, to run the race (...after not being interested in before? ....) and so I never really stopped obsessing over it - so when she offered her bib I just...felt like fate. Even though I was undertrained, I knew I could finish it - and I really wanted to go out on a more positive note than Lincoln. (So Jennifer - again, thank you. REALLY really grateful!)

After arranging childcare and confirming I could run I started planning and really thinking about what went wrong at Lincoln. I decided that my problems were two-fold:

1) Pacing - I overestimated my pregnant body's abilities and paced myself in a way that caused me to short circuit after 10 miles. This wasn't intentional, of course - when your body changes fast, your capabilities change fast too and sometimes your capability changes before you've caught on. But adapting was going to require taking a VERY realistic look at what I can do hauling a much bigger pregnant belly than I did last time.
2) Attitude - when I realized my body wasn't capable of 13.1 that day, instead of accepting that I still completed a half and that by itself, I got mad at myself. I got angsty and felt like I failed. And in retrospect - this wasn't true. I didn't fail - I finished. I'm pregnant and my body can't currently do everything it did before in the same way it used to. But because my head wasn't in the right space, I robbed myself of fun - which is really unfortunate, because it was my last run with my husband (he's ramping up marathon training, and pregnancy is slowing me down) and I didn't get to enjoy it like I wish I had.

So going into this, I planned to start at 3:2 run/walk intervals - running the run intervals comfortably so as not to stress my body, and drop down to 1:1 when that started to feel like work, with the caveat of dropping down further if that proved to start feeling like work too.

But more importantly, I planned to eke every bit of fun out of this I could. Funny signs? I wanted pictures.

Sadly, it rained almost the entire race, so this group was the only one holding signs not meant for a specific person (like the ones that read, Go Mommy!). But I laughed with them and said they were the only ones holding signs, could I get a pic? They were excited - I was the only one who asked them to get one!

Kids who wanted high fives? They were gonna get them. Volunteers and course directors? I chatted and joked. I talked to runners around me. And more importantly - I don't think the smile slipped off my face except at the mega hill around 7.25ish. I literally grinned, as rain poured, as it drizzled, as the miles ticked by. I was happy to be out there, and it showed. Photographers even commented on it, because each time I saw one I threw my arms in the air as I ran past; I was already grinning, but probably grinned even wider.

I won't bother breaking down how the miles passed - my time wasn't a goal (although I suspected if I planned it carefully I could beat my Lincoln time - that wasn't a goal, just a hunch - if I hadn't done it I wouldn't have cared). I will offer these awesome highlights:

  • The course was awesomely supported - aid/potty/water-gatorade stops every 1.5-2miles mostly. The bathroom stops made this pregnant woman VERY happy - I thought I'd need each one and was never so happy to see a portopotty in my life than I was at mile 1.75ish. That was awkwardly worded, but you get the idea. Props to RAM racing!
  • Mile 5.5 was the best part of the first half. You know why? I got to see Kim! I didn't notice her at first - she was helping direct racers on the course, and while I knew she was volunteering I for some reason thought she'd be at a water stop so wasn't looking for her there. I had a present for her, but was so caught off guard that I forgot it until about a quarter mile after I passed her! :( Sorry Kim but it was so cool to see you - I have NO idea why but as soon as you called my name I totally knew your voice, it sounded just like you. (I don't know what that means, but my brain totally recognized your voice!) And let me say - she was pretty rad with the cowbell. MOAR COWBELL PLZ.
  • I ran 3:2 intervals the first hour, and 1:1 the second. Into the third I did a mix - mostly 1:1, but towards the end I did some 30 second walks and runs, and then some 1:2s - I could have run longer but it was more important to me to run to the end, so I added more walking. I'm glad I did; it let me finish the race running, which is something I hadn't managed at Lincoln. It was important to me to never stress during this race - I wanted it to be fun. If I was starting to huff and puff, that's not fun - so I didn't do it. Period. And it worked out perfectly :) 
  • I felt bad when I passed people....there were a couple people who groaned out loud when I'd pass them and I knew it was the obvious baby belly causing that reaction. There was one guy who kept glancing between my face and my stomach when I'd be next to him and groan when I passed - I don't know if he even realized he was doing it out loud. He tried so hard to run past me but...he was clearly out of gas :( I did take a bathroom break at the end so he might have passed me then, but he sure caused some guilt, haha!

I ended up finishing in 3:10:31, which is about 2:15 faster than Lincoln. Not intentional, but didn't surprise me either - my attitude was better and I was a lot more careful AND mindful of my body. I had an absolute blast, smiling until the end. (Except the monster hill. I did walk most of the uphills that were more than gentle and smiled, but that monster - even walking it had me out of breath! Rude!) The course was awesome and so well supported, and I couldn't have asked for better weather - mid 50s and drizzly. Rain is usually not something to hiope for but I really think it helped me manage my temps better - I overheat really easily right now, which is why heat running hasn't been happening, and it helped keep me cool.

If I have a negative, it's that I ran under a friend's bib. I didn't realize until the day before that you're not allowed to transfer your bib - I'd heard of other runners using a friend's bib and it didn't really occur to me until I came across the tidbit on the website when I was looking up packet pickup info. I feel bad about that in retrospect; I'm not a rule breaker by nature and I am a little uncomfortable with it. Totally my fault and nothing to do with the race itself, but I do feel bad that I did that.

But, I'm overall very glad I did this race. I proved that I haven't lost all my fitness, and I got to go out for distance racing on a -fun- note, with a positive attitude. I felt very very accomplished at that finish line :)

Awkward belt is awkward, but there's no where else for it to go - it's wear it like this or go without! 

Very obviously pregnant, 22w2d in these pictures, but can you tell how happy I was? And I have to say - all the rain made my hair look a lot nicer post race than it usually does, since it was damp! :P

Friday, May 31, 2013

22 weeks today!

I need to stop posting about how much I am running here, because as soon as I posted last time I promptly didn't run again, haha. (Life has been...rough. My aunt's murder trial finally happened and her killer got manslaughter, so my energy has been absorbed elsewhere. Nothing to do with running, I just didn't have the mental energy to do anything besides take care of my daughter and cope day to day.)

I have -finally- been able to find a good maternity support belt to try while running - it should be here either Saturday (hopefully!) or Monday (better then than never, but I'll get into why I'm hoping for Saturday in a moment). I am really really hopeful it will make running physically pleasant again - if the pain keeps up I'm probably going to have to quit.

But if that happens, before I do, I am going out with one last hurrah ;) Remember the North Shore Half that I really wanted to do? It had been on my race calendar for ages but we decided against it after the last couple races. It's an expensive race that I can't really race, per se, so spending so much I was setting myself up for frustration. I was jealous though - my husband is going and it was an experience I really wanted. My half in January was so much fun and I felt like I robbed myself at the Lincoln Half by setting my expectations too high.

Well, serendipity happens sometimes. A friend of mine accidentally double booked herself for both a half in Cali and the North Shore half. She was offering her bib at a discount to the local half but when she found out I was interested, she insisted I could have it for free (I tried arguing - I did!).

So - I get to do one last half! I am undertrained. I've lost some fitness. This in some ways isn't the smartest idea, and I know that. But, I also feel like it was meant to be - and my expectations are VERY diffrent this time. This time, I plan to intentionally hit every bathroom stop - I plan to increase my walk intervals. But most of all, I am going to eke every little bit of fun out of this race that I can. It will be my last half until April (my husband wants me to do Lincoln again - which I'm glad for). I am going to high five any little kids who are spectating, I am going to take pictures, and I am going to smile the whole damn time. :) I will not stress over time or pace - I won't finish pretty. But I will finish in the time limits, and get a pretty medal to hang.

And really, what else could I ask for?

After that...if the belt doesn't work...I'll have to rethink what I want to do. I'd hate to just...stop running. It may end up being an occasional "when I'm up to it" thing. I may have to walk a lot more.

And I'll try to be okay with those things. Honestly, time is flying. This summer will pass in a blink and then it will be October before I know it.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Almost 20 weeks...geebus!

I'm beginning to wonder if I managed to push the fast forward button, because time feels like it is absolutely flying. I'll be 20 weeks on Friday and that's absolutely surreal. Didn't I just find out I was pregnant? Where did this giant baby bump come from? And what exactly is kicking me and wriggling all the time?!

...oh yeah. The baby. Right.

Seriously, I feel like I've blinked. 20 weeks felt impossibly far away in February and now it's the middle of May and holy whoa, here we are.

I think along with that milestone I'm finally making peace with my mileage falling so dramatically. I really thought I'd be one of those pregnant women who kept up 20-25 miles until she was at least 6 months pregnant and that just hasn't happened. By far. I don't know if it's all physical or some of it was no longer being on a structured training plan, but it's getting harder and harder to get out for runs. I did my virtual mother's day 10K from Muffins to Marathons and my daughter gave me my medal afterwards - which was fun.

 19 weeks exactly - and the race shirt was terribly unflattering as it hiked up. Should not have tried to wear it over the belly! :)

But just like the Cinco de miler last week, approaching mile 5 was hard and I'm still sore two days later. Not leg muscles - I could deal with that. My abs and pelvis and hips are sore. After a lot of thought and whining, my husband and I kind of mutually came to the conclusion that I'm pushing too hard to keep up with a baseline that isn't feasible for me right now. Not meeting my mileage goals was upsetting, not to mention unproductive.

My new reality? 2-4 miles, and stop when it stops feeling okay - maybe a 4-5miler on the weekend if I'm up to it. I feel...surprisingly okay with it. I'm still getting out there, still running. I walk a lot more in between running days. I'm active and I know that's good for everyone.

And the truth is, running pregnant just isn't as fun as it was before getting pregnant. Every run feels hard now, like the first few weeks of the couch to 5K. I can't chase that runner's high - I can't push hard enough even if I felt like it was safe to do. There's a mental battle in running now that didn't used to be there. I'm afraid to burn myself out - I know I'll have to stop running at some point in this pregnancy and I want to be eager to pick it back up. I don't want to have forced myself to go out there and find I've sapped all the fun out of it - I want it to be fun when I pick it back up. So, I'm cutting down and chilling out a bit. I find my pace is naturally slowing a bit even when I don't notice, even when I feel like I'm still going along at the same rate, so I think it's a good time to really just let go and relax and do what I can and what feels good and /no more/.

So...even though it surprises me to write...I feel pretty good about this decision. Regretful, especially watching my husband wrack up the miles as he trains for Chicago, but I also body is getting ready for it's own unique athletic challenge in October. It's not the Chicago Marathon, it's the Miles Marathon. There will be other Chicagos for me. The miles I can safely and comfortably accumulate now are healthy ones. And that is good enough. Because of this:

Actually, this is last week, but it shows the bump!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Cinco de miler recap

Hah! I should have known better than to say "I know it will be a PR" yesterday because it sure wasn't. But I had a great time :)

My husband and I - as well as my aunt - were all running yesterday. Getting there was a pain because parking was PACKED (why oh why do races with large crowds pick places with teeny tiny parking?!) but amazingly it only cost us $3. We'll take it. (My aunt spent the night at her twin's house and took the bus, but we wanted a night at home sans 4 year old, since she was staying at her Grandma's.) We figured out the parking lot we parked in was like a mile and a half away from the start line but that was fine, it was a little chilly but otherwise okay. Fortunately after the long drive there was a public park with a public restroom on the way...

Once at the start line I was relieved to see (no pun intended!) that this race hadn't underestimated its need for portopotties and there were TONS. Despite the public bathroom along the way I figured better safe than sorry while pregnant. Keith waited with me in line, but apparently took off to his corral because he was antsy once I was actually IN the stall. WTH?! He says he waved to me once I was on my way in, but I had asked him to either go to his corral and leave me in line or wait with me inline and walk with me to our corrals, since we were only one apart. I have no idea how that translated to "wait with me until I go in and then take off" - I spent 10-15 minutes looking for him before finally calling him and figuring out he'd ditched me. Thanks, husband!

With the delay I missed getting into my corral and ended up at the very end. At a smaller race this wouldn't have mattered but the Cinco de Miler was HUGE, the biggest one I've ever run, and it meant I started about 15 minutes after he did instead of oh, 2 minutes :( I was kind of pissed waiting to cross the start line because he'd ditched me and I know better than to start a run that way, but it definitely coloured my first mile. I was slow and my mind was elsewhere - I'd been planning to finish in an hour but when my first mile, which is typically my fastest, came in at 12:05 I knew it wasn't happening.

Fortunately that snapped me out of it and I yelled at myself for a moment that this was not how I want any of my runs to be - running right now is hard enough and they damn well better be fun, so I relaxed. I was still hoping for a PR but I stopped berating myself and my husband internally and just let it go, enjoyed the scenery, the band along the course (a mariachi band! I clapped as I ran by them!). Mile two came in at 12:10 and somewhere after that was my first bathroom break. I sadly forgot to factor those into my time goal - if I had I would have realized a PR wasn't in the cards, because I'm now big enough that sitting and then standing is a production :P I lost about a minute to the first bathroom break and would have to take another before the race was over.

Mile three hit with 12:20 and considering that included a bathroom break I thought it was awesome, but forgot that I'd out of habit paused my garmin during the bathroom break, which explains the discrepancy between my chip time and my garmin time. Oops! I know better during a race but just wasn't thinking.

Unfortunately it got a little downhill after the first three miles. I was taking gatorade on course because I'd forgotten my sports beans at homes, but I don't know if that wasn't enough or if it just wasn't a good day for me to go more than 3 miles (they  happen now, unfortunately!). But three things hit here - 1) I suddenly felt extremely, absurdly tired, 2) ab pain hit SEVERELY, and 3) I was suddenly wheezing when I breathed.

The first slowed me down, the second forced longer walk intervals, and the third scared the crap out of me. I've never had breathing problems before, EVER. And I didn't think Marathon was big enough yet to be pushing against my lungs. I threw the idea of a PR out the window and slowed down to make the run just physically comfortable as well as fun, and things became tolerable. With a bathroom break mile 4 was a 13:28 (and I didn't pause my garmin, hah!). I also felt AWFUL here because at one point the woman in front of me while we were turning a corner (somewhere around 3.5ish?) took a walk break and in trying to go around her I stepped on her shoe =/ I must have apologized a million times and she assured me she was fine but wow did I feel terrible. The corner was tight, but I have no excuse other than being a clutz! Oy.

Mile 5 was rough; since I was no longer racing per se I really noticed how the wind was really cold and the sun was really really hot. But it was also my fastest at 12:04. Go figure! I have no idea how that's possible and think my garmin might have hiccuped there, but whatever. The last mile, while rough, was also fun, because I started talking to people around me. We started seeing people walking backwards who had already finished and I was super super amused to hear that I wasn't the only one who targeted the race to get a medal; some of the people walking backwards with food had bibs but no finisher medal, which was noted by a pair of women running beside me. "They have no medals on! They better not have run out - I'm running give miles, I'm getting a medal, damn it!" That definitely had me grinning!

You can't tell, but the medal is there. That's the race shirt btw - I thought the design worked super well on my (huge) belly!

Fortunately, they really did have medals, and I met my husband and aunt at the finish line as well as my other aunt who didn't run. Yay! We then went to grab our food, which consisted of two egg/cheese burritos, a churro, and chips with salsa, plus a beer. I gave my husband the beer (and so did my aunt, haha!). I pawned my churro off on him too as well as one of the burritos after taking a bite (not my thing!) and the other burrito off on my aunt who didn't run, because she didn't get food. The chips and salsa were good but I think I prefer traditional race fare, but it was still fun.

Over all the race was fun. I had been a little nervous because it was run by the same group who does the Chicago Hot Chocolate and that is notorious for being a pain, but I thought it was really well run for how big it was. I think I prefer smaller races though - the race started at 9:30 but it was 10:15ish when I crossed the start line. That just isn't a fun wait when you're by yourself. The medal is cute though, it's a bottle opener!

You can't tell, but the medal has a really nice satinish ribbon too. No year, but it's still a nice little medal for a 5 miler!

And I did learn some things. Posting in my MRTT group afterwards, it was pointed out that both my breathing and fatigue are probably related to anemia. I had totally forgotten (or blocked out?) that I'd been anemic my last pregnancy too, right around 20 weeks. Oops! The wheezing is likely from me struggling to get more oxygen and I didn't do a great job paying attention before the audio cue gave it away. (Races are exciting, what can I say!) It's probably a good thing I'm not registered for any more races right now, because I think I'll be better off with day of registration when I know my body is up to it. But I think an iron supplement will help a lot too, so we'll see. I'm just going to keep reminding myself that races are FUN and not just for PRs :)

As for the ab pain...I was annoyed at first because a month ago it didn't hit until mile 10! Mile 3 is very far from mile 10 :P But then I realized, I'm also a lot bigger than I was a month ago and if I'd been paying attention during my training runs I probably would have predicted this, but I've just been running until it stops feeling good, rather than paying attention to -when- it stops feeling good. My friends suggested a pregnancy support belt for running and I think that's probably a good idea to help stop the round ligament pain in my abs. So, we'll see. But I'm still feeling pretty good - 18 1/2 weeks and still running!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Cinco de miler tomorrow!

Whee - cinco de miler tomorrow! I don't think I looked forward to this one quite as much as I did to Cupid a few months ago, but it's another one that's been on my race calendar forever. In a way it's sad because it's the last race I'm currently registered that's on-ground instead of virtual, and it's the last one I registered for before getting pregnant. After tomorrow - I won't be registered for any more races that I actually go to a course for! Boo.

That's such a strange feeling. I know at 18 weeks pregnant I shouldn't register far ahead for races because Marathon will grow so so quickly at this point that I'll be bigger literally week to week and who knows whether I'd be up to a half marathon at say, 23 weeks. The only way I should be doing races now is to register like, a couple days before. But I'm a planner! Haha.

On the plus side, I do have two awesome virtual races coming up - both by Fit 4 Life. I have a Mother's Day 10K (that I won an entry to!) next weekend - I actually registered for it while pregnant but before I knew I was pregnant! And then next month their awesome Boston Challenge, where I have a week to log 26.2 miles. I'm really looking forward to that one because the proceeds go to  charities to benefit the victims of the Boston bombings - so it just really, really resonates, even if that's higher mileage than I usually have in a week, especially right now.

And on another note do I record this PR?! I technically have an 8K PR, which is 4.97 miles...but not a 5mile PR. I know I'll be faster than my 8K, which was when I was just starting out. List them separately since they're different by .03? List the 5 mile instead? Dilemma!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Gasp! A post.

It's been a bit since I've posted, mostly because my personal life has been SO busy. But, I will also say that like everyone else in the running blogosphere, Boston shook me badly. With my husband running the Chicago Marathon all I could do was watch the horror unfold and imagine if it had been a different marathon, if it could have been me being terrified for his safety. I bit my lip waiting for the people who I knew were running to check in and while no one I know or love was in the end physically affected by the horror, the scars will run deep for a long time, I think. It's made me quiet on blogging because as a general rule I don't want to post negtivity, but this is somthing that shook me so I did want to take a moment to reflect on just the horror of a day of hope and accomplishment turned so brutally violent. This may also be cliché but while it reinforced the cynical view that there are some sick twisted *ahems* out there, the outpouring of community support and the people who selflessly ran /towards/ the victims did more to reassure my faith in humanity than the bombers did to shake it.

Moving back to my own personal sphere, running has not been terribly exciting the past few weeks since my last post. My abs took longer than I thought to recover after the Lincoln Half and I only ran once that week, but I've been pretty okay otherwise. I have not been able to run 4x a week like I used to - being pregnant not only makes you tired, but it makes other demands on your time too! - but have been generally able to get 3x a week in - two 3-5 during the week and a longer one on the weekend. I'm happy with that for now and am hoping to work back up to 10-15 miles during the week and 8-10 on the weekend. (I know! I don't follow the 2/3 and 1/3 rule! Gasp!) I did finally pick up a maternity workout shirt - I know a lot of pregnant runners get by fine with bigger sizes, but I felt frumpy in my husband's stuff, and my own stuff that was larger ended up pulling up on my belly. It was no fun at all! But I watch the swap groups on FB and was able to grab a target brand workout tank that retails for 25 for 3 plus shipping and was thrilled. Here I am last week in it - excuse the red face, I should have taken this BEFORE the run but you know, running is where I prefer to be!

16 1/2 weeks. Even my arms get red when I run! Excuse the door - it's not dirty; my 4 year old had fun with sharpies one morning while I was trying to make breakfast. Oops.

I also was able to support my best friend through her very first 5K, the Purdue Challenge 5K, which I ran/walked alongside her. She completed it in 40:06 and I was by her side most of the time to support her. (She's a LOT taller than I am - we figured out that while I had no problem running beside her, if we walked I ALWAYS lagged behind - a slow run for me is her fast walk! It was both a little embarrassing and funny!)

And that means I only have one more chip timed race on my calendar for 2013 at the moment. That's such a strange feeling! I am really looking forward to the Cinco de Miler on 5/5, but I also like having my calendar full in advance. I know I can't do that right now and I still secretly hope to run another half in June, but I know any chip timed races from here on out will have to be last minute based on whatever Marathon will let me tolerate that day. I'm okay with that although the planner in  me says "Wah! More expensive!" ...yes, I am that OCD.

For a non running note, I thought I'd throw this out here - I will be 17 weeks tomorrow (how time flies! Where did it go?!) which means Marathon is just about the size of an onion, (An onion! Where the heck do they get these food comparisons from? My onions are never that big unless I buy the "Large" ones!), around 5 inches long from the top of the head to bottom of the butt (helpfully termed "crown to rump length" or CRL) and almost 6oz, which means from last week baby gained around 2.5oz and 1/2 inch in length. We're about to go into growth spurt mode - I haven't gained weight yet but in the next weight and length will nearly double, so I'm sure I will soon.

Running in the second trimester is both easier and harder - it's easier because I'm not so seriously fatigued that I literally can't do anything but nap (some days even the warm up could not get me to a run, which never happened before being pregnant), but it's harder because...well, physically I'm sure I've lost some fitness, but my heart also races faster and harder than before, breathing is actually already more challenging (and baby isn't even to my lungs yet!), and...this is embarrassing, but my balance is off - my center of gravity is always changing now as my body changes daily. So, my stride is off. I have to be careful because I can irritate my ITB absurdly easily. And...I am clumsy. :(

But I'm still out there, I'm still logging miles, and I'm still having fun. That's a victory!

On a totally unrelated to running note, we also found out that our little Marathon is a...

BOY! 16w1d ultrasound. We can't wait to meet you, Miles Alexander!

The 3d shots weren't great, but I have to post this because it looks like he's saying "Mom, I can't believe you just posted that!"

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Lincoln Recap

This might be short, I've got mixed emotions about this race.

The Lincoln Half was another race I signed up months ago, and had been planning before I got pregnant. Finding myself with Marathon on board changed my goals for the race, but not my determination to do the race. Training didn't go as well as I'd hoped, since it all occurred in the first trimester when I was drop-dead tired, but I got some miles in and was confident I could at least finish around 3:00 - not the PR I'd planned when I signed up in January but still, a time I would be happy enough with considering how much my circumstances had changed and how much less I could push myself now.

Friday night I picked my husband up from the train, dropped my daughter off at her grandparents, and off we went. 3 1/2 drive ended up being closer to 4 1/2 because I needed to stop at most of the rest areas (pregnant! eep) and we ended up checked in around 10:30. I had fast food for dinner along the way and pretty much crashed out right away; my husband slept most of the drive and he stayed up til nearly midnight. (Crazy.)

The alarm went off at 5:30 and we got up, got dressed, and hit the Starbucks in the hotel for breakfast. I was a little nervous because I had to switch my usual pre-race fare and go for a plain croissant - there were no bagels. But I wasn't terribly worried, my stomach has never been picky about what I eat before hand and I've even eaten spicy cheetos and gone out for an unplanned run, so I figured I'd be okay. (And I was. There's not that much difference between a croissant and a bagel.) We headed off to packet pickup expecting huge mega lines, because the race had sent out a scolding email to expect lines because not nearly enough people had picked up at the expo. (We were hours away - we had no choice.) It took mere moments though, and while I noted some sidelong glances at my belly, it was pretty much in and out.

I had planned on wearing my tank top, tights, and running skirt, but the shirt was a fluorescent yellow that I took one look at and knew it wasn't one I'd love, so I had no compunction against stretching it out. I had forgotten these were unisex so the medium I ordered actually fit fine over my belly - it would have been much too big if I wasn't pregnant. We took a couple minutes to get bibs up, hike the half mile back to the hotel to drop our bags off, and get back to the starting line.

Us at the start. How cute are we!

The portopotty lines were ridiculous! The race had almost 1700 starters but it's usually smaller - and well - 10 portopotties for that many people was just not adequate. That's my only complaint though - the race was otherwise fantastic. I met up with Nicole who was pacing the 3:00 group,  and the race started on time after a quick speech from "Abe."

The course was beautiful, and our plan was to hang with the pace group the first 3-4 miles, then spring ahead if we felt good. Nicole grabbed this cute shot in front of the capitol building where we paused for a second while running:

Us in front of the capital building. So that chest strap? That's my water bottle belt - it no longer goes on my waist! Eep. Not very comfortable anymore, but not sure what else to do with it!

Shortly after the 5K point I was feeling great, which we hit around the 40 minute mark, and we pulled ahead of the pace group. Starting with then was a great move, they were running 3 and walking 2 and I think that was a better mix than the 2:1s I'd been doing. We moved up the pace and were generally running 12-12:30. By mile 5 though I was DESPERATE for the bathroom and asking volunteers how close we were - that mile FLEW by with me running fewer intervals and faster running. When a girl's gotta go...! My husband teased me the whole mile, but damn, I was ready and thought there was one at mile 4 - not 6! Oops. We clocked a 14:30 for mile 6 with the bathroom stop, but it was much, much needed, and we were off.

Mile 7 brought a gel stop where I grabbed one even though I'd been eating my sports beans and Keith grabbed one too. I figured I probably wouldn't use it but he could if needed a second later. The water stop came up next and then a mega hill of doom.

Now, I will say - I generally don't do hills unless I'm on the treadmill. My area has some rolling inclines, but no real hills. And call me a lazy runner but I just don't care that much to look for them - most of the local courses are flat and while I know it would be beneficial, hills suck and I refuse to make something I enjoy so much...not fun, if that makes sense. And hills aren't fun! I don't mind hitting them during races, but we walked the hills. They were huge. I forgot Springfield was hilly because the one time I'd been there was before I was running.

But we passed the hill of death (and walked a couple more hills after) and I was doing fine, keeping a pace I was very happy with. We were on pace to finish around 2:50, which was a time I would be very very happy with.

But mile 10 hit, and suddenly I was having severe round ligament pain. For those who haven't been pregnant, round ligaments are on the lower/underside of your belly and they're the main muscles that support the uterus (at least while pregnant). RLP isn't dangerous to the best of my knowledge, but it does mean you're overdoing it. I took a longer walk interval to let the pain go away and tried running again, warning my husband that if this didn't go away I had to stop. By 10.5 I knew I had to be done - even walking wasn't decreasing the pain much. It made it tolerable but the moment I started to run, it hurt a lot.

I have a high pain tolerance. If my legs had been hurting (muscle aches I mean, not damage pain - obviously if I think I'm injured I stop running) I could have run through it. But belly pain while pregnant...I just wasn't willing to mess with. This was always the contingency plan; I was only okay doing a long race if I promised myself I'd stop if I needed to and walk the rest. I just...didn't think I'd need the contingency plan.

So, we walked the last 2.6 miles. At points I struggled not to cry, because I was so disappointed and so frustrated. Keith tried to console me, but I was just majorly disappointed. I knew it was the right decision. I KNEW I needed to make this call and it wasn't one anyone else could make for me. I knew I had a contingency plan for a reason and this was the reason my doctor was okay with my running - because I would stop if I needed to. If I'd been home I would have cut the run short. But it was just so disappointing!

At one point we hit the portopotties, the last stop for them on the course, and I was so glad because that was the point - somewhere at mile 11ish - that Nicole and the rest of the 3:00 pace group caught up to us. I was in the portopotty and I heard her talking to Keith - if she had caught me I think I would have burst into tears from disappointment.

I always knew I'd finish - but I was so frustrated I couldn't finish it running!

And those last couple miles dragged. I'm a slow walker, generally, and by this point my legs were getting stiff because I wasn't running. Somewhere in the last mile the other pacer from Nicole's group found me and walked with us for a bit, consoling me and telling me it was still good to be out there and we weren't anywhere near last, etc, and then went on ahead. Plus, I apparently sucked at running tangents this race - I'm usually within .05, but my garmin clocked this as 13.41. Ouch.

We finally finished with a chip time of 3:12:22. A far cry from what I wanted, but we finished. We did run the last little stretch to cross the finish line running, and it did hurt, but we got our cool penny medals and grabbed some post-race food - a couple chocolate milks, banana, yoghurt and water. My husband grabbed some donuts and some G2 too - apparently we missed bagels but I still thought the spread was pretty good. Keith grabbed a couple pictures but I was irritated at my finish time and still looked grumpy:

Husband, there is wind blowing dust in my eyes and I don't really want a picture at the moment. RAWR.

But, it was over, and I -did- finish it. Overall, this was definitely a race I'd do again, hills and all. Beautiful course and there were a lot of spectators and nice traffic directors - the on-course support was really nice too. I felt like it could have used one more water stop, but otherwise I thought they did a great job and unlike some other races, they didn't run out of water in the end. The last water stop was actually staffed by men in uniform, which was pretty humbling. I was walking by that point but still got cheers, and they were just awesome. The portopotties were well placed for most people (not their fault I'm pregnant!) and just generally this was a well-staffed, well supported, well run race. Next year is the 50th and if I'm up to it, I'd love to go for a redemption run :) Even if the wind was majorly awful, haha!

Plus, the medal is pretty damn cool.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Lincoln Half is TOMORROW!

Yikes, where did time go? I'm so excited for this race and yet haven't been able to run all week. I'm finally feeling better, but my run time is while my daughter is in school - and she's been sick! I should have hauled my butt out of bed before my husband left for work, but I had no idea this would go on all week like this. I'm going to at least fit a 3-4 mile walk in today and maybe a short run on my treadmill.*

I feel like the failest runner ever, but other than hving a tough time getting up in the morning and getting tired early, the fatigue is so much better than it was even a couple weeks ago. And the weather is getting beautiful, so if I can solve my shirt problem I should be back to my normal 5 milers soon, which ... may sound lame, but it's EXCITING. I'll even be able to do long runs on Monday, since my daughter is starting a second class and will be in school all from 9-2 instead of 9-11.

In makes-me-pout news, I got an email that the North Shore Half is already filling up. Boo. I can't sign up now, 2 months is a lot at this point in pregnancy - I want to do that one so badly but if I sign up and then find myself on bed rest, or with pelvic pain, or end up one of those women who can't run past 5 months? $80 is just too much to spend to register when there's a decent chance that even if I'm still running I may no longer be up to 13.1. Guess I'll have to find another race that month to think about.

*My treadmill is evil - it's a manual one we got for free on freecycle, and it's a permanent hill - in addition to being very difficult to run on, plus a pain to keep the belt in place, it's also at an incline - I can rarely do more than 2 miles on it! In fact...I don't think I've ever done more than 2 miles on it. I much prefer real hills!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Egg Shell Shuffle Recap & Light at the end of the tunnel

Before I get to the fun part of this post (recapping the Egg Shell Shuffle 5K!) let me just say - my mileage this month stunk. The fatigue was so bad, but there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel. I've had more energy both to do domestic house stuff and to get out and run. I haven't had a long run in about two weeks, but my last one was a full 13.1 so I'm feeling pretty okay for the Lincoln Half next weekend.

Being pregnant does affect my pace; I force myself to slow down, and sometimes that saps the fun out of it a little bit, but I know it's for the best. But pregnancy has added some other factors I didn't think about:

1) I can't run fasted right now. I used to run early in the morning with nothing in my stomach on days I ran before my husband went to work - I pretty much rolled out bed, got dressed, and ran.

I tried that this week and was starving half a mile in - when I got home, I had a dizzy spell. Yikes! Note to self: Eat breakfast first, dummy.

2) I need to eat more often on long runs. I used to eat half a pack of sports beans every half hour or so - I've started eating 1/4 pack every 15ish minutes and it's doing a better job keeping my blood sugar even AND keeping me hydrated, which both have been bigger issues during runs lately. It's sort of a pain to eat more often, but I feel better during the runs if I do.

3) Pushing it on runs really is a no-no. Even though Marathon is now more than a blueberry - we're up to peaches this week! - the baby is still pretty small, but pushing it too hard on a run leaves me literally feeling ill. I need to relax and run for fun, and ditch my competitive side - but it ain't easy. But here's a bonus picture of M just to break up the wall of text:

Marathon at 13w0d - and looking like a baby! (That's the umbilical cord by the way...not a gender indication!)

Sorry I haven't updated much lately, I haven't had many runs (well, as many as I wanted) and I've been really bummed about it. I didn't want this to become a downer blog, so I just refrained from posting. (Even though Kim told me I should anyway! :) )

And now the fun part - the Egg Shell Shuffle 5K! I feel like I signed up for it FOREVER ago, and I kind of did because I wasn't pregnant at the that's forever enough, right? When I was initially looking at the race, I looked at it because it gave medals to both 5K and half runners. (I'm a bling whore, I'll admit it. I like medals!) I was thinking of signing up for the half just because I felt a little bad getting a medal for a 5K even though I have the half marathon in Springfield the following weekend, and as a bonus, it would have been entry into Half Fanatics. But my aunt, uncle, and two teenage cousins actually ended up signing up for the 5K, so I did it with them for a family thing. (It was everyone's first 5K! YAY!) Serendipity - I don't think my pregnant body could do two half marathons in two weeks.

Babygirl and I picked up the packet yesterday and I'll admit to being a little depressed - two weeks ago my regular running clothes all fit to varying degrees of snugness. When I tried the running shorts on that came in the packet (because the shuffle gives shorts instead of a shirt) they were awesome shorts - actual nike shorts instead of just cheap athletic shorts - and they cut into my belly. I could get them up, but they weren't just uncomfortable - they actually hurt my stomach.Let me just say - that caused a minor panic, because while yes, I wasn't pregnant when I listed my size, all of my regular running clothes are the same size. I hadn't run this week in my regular clothes - I'd been testing out the maternity skirt, but hadn't planned to run in it during the race - so I flew to try on my regular race gear.

See where this is going? NONE of it fit :( Looked like I'd be running in the maternity skirt (which was fine, really) and stretching out one of my nice shirts I'd planned to save. The maternity panel on the skirt was my saving grace or I'd have been flashing under belly (not an attractive look even when not pregnant!) I knew I had popped because even strangers could tell I was pregnant, but it happened so fast I didn't really realize how much my belly had changed.

But I cobbled together an outfit and laid it out for the next morning, after posting a whinging shot to FB first:

Two weeks ago, my stomach was FLAT! Where did this bump come from!? (Excuse the bathroom shot, my husband was sleeping and refused to wake up and help me out. Hmph!)

And in the morning, off we went to Schaumburg. After a couple stops at the portopotties (pregnancy...going just once isn't enough...) and meeting up with my aunt/uncle and the cousins, it was time to run. The half had started at 8:45 but I didn't get there til 9 because the 5K wasn't until 9:15 - I was pleasantly surprised that the 5K started right on time. The weather was a pleasant surprise too - it's been frigid out, but yesterday the weather smiled and it was a sunny 55. I even had cause to regret long sleeves, not that I had a choice!

I ran the entire first mile and clocked a 10:45 mile. I'll have to look because that might be my fastest 1mile. (Yes, I know, don't go out too fast! But I knew the end of this course was yucky in taped off loops, or so I thought, and I always find those frustrating so I wanted to bank some time.) The first mile was totally flat and easy to find empty patches to run in, so I really enjoyed myself. I passed my two cousins, who had zoomed out super fast and teased my older cousin about having something rattling in her race bag (I'm still not sure if she had candy or ibuprofin in there, but it rattled when she ran, poor kid!) The end of the first mile brought the first turnabout and my first walk break, because while I can run the entire time, I know how much better my abs handle it with short walk breaks. Around a mile and a third I passed my aunt and uncle who were on their way to the turnabout, and I was off. The rest of mile two flew by, or so it felt, although I actually clocked an almost-12. I'm not sure why I was so slow there - I think it must have been chatting with my cousins, because I don't really remember anything else that should have slowed me down. I do remember consciously slowing a little bit because I was really eager and didn't want to push, so it's possible I overcompensated here - I'm not sure. Right at mile 2 I saw my husband and daughter spectating and they snagged this pic:

This is what pregnant running looks like - apparently, I smile and run with my eyes closed. I hate this shot because I look big rather than pregnant, but hey - I know the real deal, right?

Mile 3 was just as flat as the first two, but it was a lot more crowded because the path narrowed about a half mile in. I won't blame my end time on that, but I will say I got really frustrated. It was a little narrower than a sidewalk AND it turned back about halfway (so the course went out for mile one, turned back and went straight for about 1.5 and then turned back for the last .6 - a little odd and I'm not sure I'm describing it right) so the tiny path had to accommodate runners going both directions. This is really my only complaint about the race because I had to keep jumping down into the ditch to try to get around people, because people were squeezing in three deep on the path and ignoring polite "Excuse me"s. This slowed me down a lot here and I had to keep reminding myself to relax because I was getting pretty frustrated - you expect crowding at the beginning, not the end. The dodging lasted until we got off the path - I did get to wave to my uncle as he approached the turnabout, although I missed seeing both my aunt and my cousins. From finish times I think my aunt was too close behind me for me to see, and I'm not sure how I missed my cousin.

At the end of mile 3 I knew I'd be close, but I was going to miss both the 35 minute mark and a PR - I'd lost too much time in mile 3. I determined to sprint it out anyway, and ended with a 35:32 - missing a PR by 16 seconds, and my goal by 33 seconds. It was still one of my best 5Ks ever, and considering I never expected to run this while pregnant, I'm still mostly happy with my time - I wanted the PR and not getting it is disappointing but I came pretty close despite hauling a much bigger belly than I'd expected.

 Showing off my bump AND my new bling!

Overall, the race was a lot of fun. There were two egg hunts afterwards - my daughter picked up a lot of candy in the kid's one, and my cousin snagged a 20$ Dick Ponds giftcard, which they gave to me because they'd never use it. Huzzah!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Surpassing my own expectations - and loving it!

For the first time in a couple weeks I got out there for a long run. My last long run embarrassingly was actually 2/10, the Cupid 10K - while I did fine mostly getting 4-5 mile runs in during the week, weekends either weather interfered, we were out of town in a place I couldn't fit a run in, or like last week I tried but had to cut it short to two.

I didn't want to get my hopes too high, so I set my goal for 7 miles. My husband went with me and while I kept it a slow and steady 12:45-13:00mms, mentally the miles went by fast. He didn't run at all other than our 2mile run last week, which isn't so good since he is also registered for the Lincoln Half, so he didn't complain about doing intervals with me - it was a tough run for him because he hadn't done any in a while. When we hit 5 I realized I was feeling fantastic - the run was hard and challenging and I'm glad I didn't set a more aggressive pace to humour his longer legs, but I felt great.

By 5.5 I verbalized that if I felt good, I was going to go for an 8th. He rolled his eyes - he didn't want an eighth, heh. I told him I wasn't asking him to come along, although it would be nice.

At just shy of 7, I tried to bargain. If I stopped at 7 he'd be doing my 1/2 mile cooldown with me, so he could just run with me til then, right? It'd be the same mileage? Well, it made sense to me and it was a good argument, but no. He went inside and I finished my 8th on my own.

...I was bad, I didn't cool down. I walked the 1/4 mile back to his parent's house, but I was lonely! And that was bad, because my legs were immediately sore - didn't walk it off enough and hadn't done a run that long in a month.

BUT, I'm extremely glad I felt good enough to add an extra mile. That was a good confidence booster, since I was starting to wonder if Marathon was going to let me do long runs at all. To feel so good really made me feel mentally better.

That said, I'm sore today. While there was no ab pain during the run and I never felt like I was overdoing it, I can feel it in my lower abs today right along my scarline. I think that might mean I overdid it a little, but it could also just be random because I'm not having any other reaction and all else seems to be well. -shrugs- I'll play it by ear, but I'm looking forward to next week's long run!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Looking back at February

Well, on February 1 I decided I was going to have an 80 mile month. I felt strong and capable and started the month with one of the best runs I've ever had.

I still feel strong and capable, but the month ended up with 45 miles and I'm okay with that. I said going into it that February was going to be an amazing month and it absolutely was, just not in the way I thought it would be. Finding out that I was pregnant has already changed the way I run, but in so many ways I am absolutely convinced that running gave me this baby (jokes about where the baby was conceived aside, haha). Running has done so much to change my life; it gave me self esteem because I was convinced I could never run. It has helped guide my weightloss so that I lost way more bodyfat than lean body mass, and although I have been a lower weight before, my body is so different than it ever has been before (aside from the changes that having my daughter created...some of those are permanent, and that's okay).

Running has made me confident, running has made me healthier, and running has done more good things for my body than I can name, and obviously, more than I know, too. It's unfortunate that running is harder right now, but that hasn't changed how much I love to run or how good I still feel it is for me - if anything, it's just taught me how much listening to my body is important. I ran 2 miles on Sunday, and had planned 6, but soreness in my abs convinced my husband and I that I needed to cut it short. I mourned the miles, but not the decision. With my body making changes every day, some days are going to be good days to run and some aren't, and that's okay.

I didn't end up running again until today because we had a little scare where we thought something was wrong with the pregnancy (all is fine! Marathon is fine, we even saw him/her again and baby is measuring exactly on target with date of conception, with a super healthy heartbeat of 162 - the problem was totally unrelated), so getting out and running 5 miles today just...felt great. It felt HARD, no doubt. My heart pounds harder, faster than it ever used to, and I have to heed those little warnings to slow it down a bit. Morning sickness sometimes can make an entire run feel like that last stretch in a race where you're giving it everything you've got and just a little bit more than you really should until when you cross the finish line you're sure you're going to throw up - but that's part of life now and happily, not all runs (or even all moments of a run) are like that. I am grateful for every mile I can run right now, and looking forward to my 5K at the end of the month.

I -am- a little nervous about my half marathon on 4/6, because I know I am going to be undertrained. PR isn't likely, and that's okay. I'm just going to have fun making an incredible run with Marathon - especially because unless running really does get easier the second trimester (it does for some, for some it doesn't - so we'll see) this will be my longest run for a long long time. So I'm just going to relax and not push and just have fun. I can have fun at a race, right?

And in the mean time, I'll continue being grateful for each mile. According to thebump Marathon is the size of a green olive this week, so here's to running with an olive!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What's this - a run?

After a week of no running, I finally got out there for a run today. I of course picked the day with a windchill of 5, but hey. You gotta run when you gotta run!

I felt bad missing so many runs over the past week, but the fatigue and morning sickness have really just honestly kicked me in the butt. Hard. Apparently I was hit hard by fatigue my last pregnancy too, but in a lovely bit of fatigue-induced blur, I don't remember it :D My husband does though...I've gone to bed so early lately, and have just had no energy at all. I've tried to go for runs and just didn't have the energy even once I was out there. My usual rule is do a mile and if I'm still not feeling it I go back and cut it to a 2 mile run, because 99% of the time I'm fine once I get going. But this week I couldn't even make it to a mile - my energy level was really just that low.

Today though I woke up and finally felt human! *cue air punches* I had been hoping to do at least 5 - I ended up doing 4 though, and I don't feel bad. I did great the first 3 miles and the fourth mile was just really hard, my energy flagged hard and morning sickness forced me to walk a few times. Despite that the mile came out to 13:17 so it wasn't awful, but I knew I was done.

I think I'm going to have to let go of mileage goals for the most part, at least until my energy gets better near the second trimester. It's incredible how much harder* running is right now - it boggles my mind because the baby is the size of a blueberry right now. You'd think having a blueberry inside you wouldn't make it any harder to run, logically, but between constant nausea, exhaustion, and just running being /harder/...I'm going to have to do something really hard for me, and try to be flexible. I love training plans. I love ticking runs off a list and racking up my goal mileage. I love it. It works for my ocd little brain and gives me the biggest sense of accomplishment - but the flip side is right now, it's making me feel like a failure.

And I refuse to feel like a failure, because I know so many women don't even try to run while pregnant. Hell, so many people don't even try to run, end of story. I am trying. No, I am doing. And if I am more limited now than I was a month and a half ago, so be it. I will try to do more long runs with my husband, because I think that'll give me the support mentally to push through long runs. But if I can't make one of my three weekly runs, I won't beat myself up. If I can't do 6 miles and do 4, well okay then. I know that every mile is good for me and every mile is good for Baby Marathon.

*And oddly, I don't just mean harder because I'm tired. My heart is beating harder, sooner, and faster. It's weird, but I can feel that it's physically more strenuous to run right now. That's part of why I cut a mile off my run today; I didn't want to be pushing my HR right now.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Rest days

Just a quick note more for myself than anything else - for the second day in a row I woke up with a sore throat and muscle soreness. I'm going to take the rest of the week off and hope that Monday I feel better, I think this is primarily from morning sickness but time will tell. Right now, I'm going to go nap instead of run as I feel absolutely no energy level, so I'm just going to take that cue and take it easy. I want to be out there, but I'm really afraid to push it right now.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Confessions of a slow runner

I haven't gone for my run yet, since it's a day my daughter doesn't have school and I have to wait for my husband to get home, but I'll get that in in a few hours.

In the mean time, I've been thinking more about speed. It's no secret that I'm a slow runner - back of the pack generally, and I came in last in my first 10k (granted, there were only 21 people including me in that race, but still). My fastest mile according to my garmin is a 10:48. Some of that is that I started running while 50lbs overweight - but some of it, as I began to realize when I got closer and closer to my goal weight (10lbs away, but losing that last 10 is obviously on hold right now) is that I'm just physically slow. I -am- faster than I used to be - my very first 5K clocked in at a 40:18. Speed demon, amirite? My most recent last month was 35:17 and that's good progress between September and January, but it's again, primarily because I lost weight. I'm just a slow poke. And usually, I'm okay with that.

Sometimes though, it's hard not to be just a little self conscious about it. Blogging has made this better and worse; better, because it's brought me into contact with other runners who -are- running my pace or close. Worse, because like the rest of the running community, most are a whole lot faster than I am.

For the most part, I know better than to compare myself to others and I'm grown up enough that comparing myself to others mostly lost its glamour in grade school. But .. but but but.

But I'm extremely competitive by nature and it's hard sometimes to ignore the little snipes that those of us running 12 minute miles aren't running, we're jogging, or aren't running, we're just briskly walking. I know that -most- runners aren't like this, and most of pretty damn supportive of everyone who gets out there and puts themselves on display to run the best race they can.

But, it's hard to swallow that working as hard as I can, I may never even end up in the middle of the pack.

But, it's hard to know that when I go running with my husband, he really doesn't get anything out of it at all. Especially as I get further along in this pregnancy, he's probably going to be able to walk alongside me as I run! (...which, he has before. Side effect of short wife and tall husband - his natural walk is a 15 minute mile and mine's a 20...)

I do love to run. I love that I can. For me, it was impossible. Jeff Galloway and the C25K made it possible for this particular pipe dream to come true, and I -can- run 5 miles without stopping, even if it's slow. Every time I go out there, I do the impossible. I'm the girl who couldn't run, and I have run as much as 13.1 miles! And that's worth celebrating, even if I'm slow.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Baby news and boring runs

First, baby news! We had our ultrasound yesterday to both date the pregnancy and confirm it's viable. The baby measured 6 weeks 2 days gestation, which means I managed to test and get a positive on the early side. I'll take it! I saw the heartbeat, which was just...incredible. (Although the tech scared me to death - she first did an abdominal and pointed out the gestational sac, and said it could just be really early...heartbroken, I asked her if that meant no heartbeat, and she said only the internal would show the heartbeat this early. When she saw it right away on the internal it was a HUGE relief!)

After some quick math when we got home, we realized that that put the date of conception to be...the Chicago Polar Dash, my first half marathon, last month. Hahahahahah. We stayed in a hotel for the race since it was downtown and a pain to get to otherwise, and I guess we were...opportunistic 0:-) We're nicknaming the baby Marathon until we find out the sex, hahah.

Interestingly, this date for the pregnancy also means I haven't managed many long long runs with Marathon on board. So, that could lend credence to me finding running harder right now, because I know I've been struggling and figured it was just a bit of slowdown after my half. Could it be more? I guess I'll find out as the pregnancy progresses.

I really should have run on Monday, but I was tired and anxious; today I was finally zen enough, after seeing the heartbeat, to get a good run in today. I wanted 5 and I got them in, but the paths I usually run are still full of solid ice slicks a couple inches deep that are impossible to run on because the temps keep bouncing between slightly above freezing and slightly below, so it keeps melting slightly and reforming. Ick. So instead of my normal 2.5 mile out and then 2.5 mile back path, I ran little circles around my subdivision, in an out of different cul de sacs.

The pros -

1) No traffic in the morning, so I wasn't dodging cars like I would have been if I'd run my normal path on the streets instead of sidewalk
2) Different area so not quite as boring as laps around my house
3) Ran the whole time again! Which has me wondering if I should try to focus on extending that ability for a while. I focused on Gallowalking because I was very very injury prone...but that was 40lbs ago. Literally. My body is healthier and stronger than it has ever been..maybe I'm ready for the stresses of solid running? Then again, I'm pregnant...maybe I shouldn't be instituting this kind of change now when I've been running like this for 8 months?

The con -

1) SO. BORING! I'm so bad at getting it down if there isn't a half way point where I'm committed to finishing the run. Maybe that makes me a bad runner, but unless I'm running with someone keeping the attention span I need otherwise is so hard when I'm just trying to fill in distance. If I'm running up and down this street and that street just to fill in the miles, I'm so much more likely to quit the run earlier than I want. I was always like this for walks too and it drove my husband nuts - without a destination I get bored. I love running and I still get bored. It's filler and feels unproductive, even though I -know- it's all in my head. Ugh. I wish I could get over this mental hurdle because it was so much easier to run here without the ice.

Unfortunately, lied. When I checked, it said 33, felt like 25. So I dressed in my wool base layer, running pants, long sleeve tech shirt, and threw on my thick polar dash fleece. Unfortunately, it was actually 41 according to my car and that's a big difference - I was sweating the whole time! Wish I'd grabbed a lighter jacket. Oh well! The plan for this week:

Monday: Rest/recover from Cupid
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: 5 miles
Thursday: 2-3 miles (tempo or easy - I'm not going to do any more speed interval training while pregnant)
Friday: 5 miles
Sat/Sun: Long run 8-9 miles OR run 6 miles with no walk breaks. I'm open to thoughts here, I'm torn. I don't actually know that I'm less injury prone now than I was, and I'm now pregnant. But, I've now run 5 miles without stopping multiple times and been fine...

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Cupid's Love Dash 10K!

Finally finally finally I can write this race recap - and yes, I only ran it today, but I've been waiting to run it since September! My PR going into this race was 1:17:08 at the SIA Track Attack on 10/27/12, which was my first 10K. My goal was 1:14:00.

I have to admit I slept terribly last night even though my daughter spent the night at her Grandma's house, which usually lets me sleep better. I even had a nightmare that I got there late and forgot my bib so I had to fill out this really really long day-of registration form that included a short novel and a pop quiz (brain...what??), and by the time I finished the form, it was too late to run the race!

Fortunately, that dream didn't come true. The alarm went off at 6:25 and though I snoozed a couple times I made it out of bed. I got dressed and toasted my bagel, but only managed to eat half of it and without my usual PB at that, but oh well. (Thanks, baby - but at least I know WHY it's been so hard to eat breakfast this past month!) A quick check revealed that it was supposed to rain between 8 and 9, which was oh, most of the time the 10k would be going, and thus lead me to grab my running jacket instead of my fleece since it's nominally water resistant. With minimal poking and prodding my husband rolled out of bed too, and after a cute miscommunication where he thought we weren't leaving until 7:50 (which for an 8:15 race was actually when I wanted to BE there), he too got dressed and I managed to push my now-cold toasted bagel half onto him so I didn't have to try to force it down. Huzzah! A couple glasses of water later, and we were out the door.

The drive was uneventful, it was essentially the same as the one I'd made for packet pickup and in short order we were there, by 7:53. Parking was as abundant as promised and walked about the half mile to the start line, where I got in line for one of the 8 portopotties. (8! More would have been was a relatively small race, less than 700 people, but still...more would have been really nice!) Fortunately I got through the line before the 10K started and was able to line up in time. As we were waiting for the gun to go off, it of course started drizzling, right on cue. Ah well.

Before I knew it the gun was sounding and we were off - the course started a little odd where we had an out-and-back before we ended up in the majority of the course, about a half mile each way for the 10k and a little less for the 5k course. It was a literal road race, where we ran in the right lane of a 2 line road the whole way (which was a little odd, because they didn't fully stop traffic, but it worked surprisingly well.) The first mile flew by - literally! I clocked an 11:07 mile because I forgot my walk break in all the excitement of FINALLY running the Cupid's Dash. I settled in for mile 2 with 2 minute walk breaks every 5 minutes and clocked an 11:53 mile. Around here the 5K and 10k courses split off and I was amused to hear people talking about how flat the course was, because I must be a hill baby - the first two miles were steady rolling hills, not the horrible kind you have to walk through but the steady baby hills that just sap you. But I was still excited and plowing forward.

Mile 3 was a lower 12:16 because I stopped extra for both water, and for candy. Yes, I got my chocolate on course - a little peanut butter cup I stuck in my pocket for later :D Mile 4 was also slow at 12:15 for a couple reasons. I think part of it was because around here I ended up getting stuck in a pack of 6 or 7 other runners - 4 of them running right next to each other. I ended up running around them a lot, they were walk/running too and we never quite matched. I'd end up running near them for another couple miles. It was a little irritating, but at least I wasn't on my own on a strange street! This mile was mostly slower though because I had to seriously entertain the thought of "What happens if I throw up on the course?" I don't know if I was overdoing it or if it was the pregnancy, but my stomach was threatening to make its presence known in an unpleasant way. The nice part was I clocked my 5K at 36:30, so I knew I was on pace to both PR and beat my goal time for this race despite my stomach.

Mile 5 12:01 isn't too awful, but I've no idea how that mile ended up so fast because the entire mile was uphill. Literally. My garmin say it went from 657 elevation to 689 and it was uphill the entire time. I don't know what that would be for other runners, but for me, that was a monster! The second water break here was so welcome, although oddly - especially considering the temperature - the water was warm. Like, warm warm. Weird.

The sixth and final mile was 11:53 - I was ready to fly to the end, but the entire mile was slick with ice. Everyone had to walk the baby downhills for the most part because otherwise you were in real danger of just sliding - it was pretty crazy, the woman next to me literally stopped and coasted at one point! It was absolutely surreal. I finally broke free of the pack I'd been stuck in when almost all of them decided to walk the ice slick - I wasn't ready to walk, but I did take super tiny steps. It was a little nervewracking though and even the police on site directing us commented that we needed the road salted! I was so so happy to see mile marker 6. I hauled butt, and my garmin shows I clocked a 10:19 pace for that last stretch. I was ready to be done!

I hadn't even been looking at my time, so was shocked to see when I stopped my garmin that my time as 1:13:24 - I'd not only PR'ed by 3:42, but I'd beaten my goal time by more than 30 seconds. Average pace of 11:52...which is funny, because not that long ago, I was shocked to finish a 5K and maintain a pace under 12 - to the point where I pushed it so hard that I nearly did throw up at the finish line! And now, I comfortably held that for a 10K.

Some post race thoughts:

1) I do think if I wasn't pregnant I could have broken 1:10 - I consciously slowed myself down at points. I'm not going to stop running because I'm pregnant, but I also know this isn't the time to push myself to my limit. Despite how happy I am with my time, I think it shows how far I've progressed with my running that the goal I set when I registered was so easy to achieve even when consciously taking it easy, and that makes this slow poke pretty darn happy :)

2) Oh, and this makes me happy too:

3) Planning to add a run after a run may not work so well going forward. I got home and was just absolutely done. I remember being exhausted the entire first trimester with my daughter, so this isn't shocking, but I got home and my husband put me to bed. I'm not going to stress over missing the 3 miles; this was a tough enough course that I think I got more out of it than I would have from 6 miles at home, plus it was at race pace. But note to self, this may or may not work while pregnant.