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!