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!