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.