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!