Monday, January 27, 2014

Getting it in, and active recovery versus full rest

I'm proud of myself and just had to blog about it - Saturday night I did a 2 mile speedworkout. I hate night running by myself, I get paranoid about safety issues and I ended up just running laps around my neighborhood. It was really cold by the time I got out there, but I have been really bad about getting both weekend runs in so I knew I had to do it. I told my husband as I was getting dressed that I didn't want to do it, haha.

But I got out there, and I ran - and I ran close to my fastest first mile ever (10:52 - I'm a speed demon, right? Hah! My fastest is 10:48) and my fastest 2 mile run ever, finishing 2.1 miles in 23:36 for an 11:14 pace. The overall pace is now on par with my pace pre-baby and that just...feels great. I was so discouraged my first few post partum runs - I'd been working so hard towards a goal of 10 minute miles and breaking a 35 minute 5K. When I started running again once I was cleared post baby, I felt so so far from that - but here at 4 months post partum, I feel like me again..and that I am SO close to that sub-35 5K! I am so so so eager to get out there and do that.

Sunday was tough, we spent the day at SoxFest in the city so I spent the entire day on my feet. Conditions outside were getting worse, it was now very snowy where my husband and I planned to run (our first run together in more than 6 months) and the temperature was dropping fast. In addition to being on my feet literally all day, I also wasn't able to eat much or get as much water in as I usually do. Great conditions for a run, right? My husband expected me to let him off the hook and to bail on the run - I shocked him when I said we were still going, but I have a 10K in 2 weeks - I needed a 4-5 mile run!

We ended up doing 4.15. It wasn't the 5 I was really really hoping for, but conditions were rough and my legs were tired and heavy, so the 13 minute pace we held was about maximum effort. We were in for a polar vortex night so I had to stop at 4.15 anyway; if I'd been a bit faster we could have done the full 5, but honestly my legs were done by that point anyway. I'm not used to running two days in a row, which makes me even prouder for getting out there and doing it.

This weekend made me proud to get out there and get it done. It also made me wonder if I could sneak a 2 mile run or two in during the week...night running sucks, but if I only do 2's better than not getting that run in during the week, right? And that won't last forever...I'd feel a lot better about signing up for the marathon if I do that, I think.

And also, I'm sore - my legs worked hard this weekend! I can't decide whether to take a full rest day or do 20 minutes on the elliptical for a gentle recovery workout. It's a good dilemma to have!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

To marathon...or not?

When I created this blog it was to help me mentally power through marathon training. 2013 was supposed to be my year of the marathon...and then I got pregnant, and it became all about a different sort of marathon. That's okay, everyone told me - you can do a marathon in 2014!

And I want to. I'm staring at the Des Plaines River Trail marathon (there's also a half and an ultra) and I so want to say yes.

But I'm so nervous. Do I realistically have time to do it this year with a baby? I've been running at most twice a week right now. That will change as he gets the end of March when he hits 6 months I'm anticipating being able to get out there twice a week on a stroller run and then 1-2 times per weekend.

But I forgot how easily life becomes hard to plan with a baby. And a marathon is a LOT of commitment.

I want to register and give myself a goal, and say 2014 is my year of the marathon. But I hate to set a goal that I'm not sure I can meet. A difficult goal is one thing, because I love things that require me to work hard to get what I want. But there's a difference between debating if it's difficult and debating if it's possible. And I'm just not sure which this is!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Frigid Fanny 5K Trail Run - Recap

I mentioned previously but for Christmas my husband got me the Muddy Monk season pass, good for their 13 races in 2014. (It was kind of his way of budgetting so I don't end up spending 30-50 a race...haha...but I'll take it and be thrilled!) This past Saturday was the first of the year, the Frigid Fanny 5K, and it was also my first trail run ever. I've off road before, but it's about...oh...a third of a mile on one of my routes. Which is not equivalent to a full race on trails!

My favourite part about getting ready for this race was that packet pickup was morning of, and their races don't start until 10am. So nice to not have to get up super early for race day! We got up before 5 when I have a race in Chicago, and because their races are only a few hundred runners it's much faster to get set up. Supposedly there was an express line for Season Pass holders, but if there was I didn't see it - nonetheless packet pickup took all of maybe two minutes. (Funny enough, the bibs they used were for the wrong race - they were forced to cancel their race last month and I guess they just reused the bibs. Fine by me, but I guess no point saving my bibs this year, hah!) For season pass holders you get the same number at each race, so I was excited to see mine:

Lucky #7! And I look so overdressed, kind of felt like one of those kids in thick snowsuits with so many layers under my thick fleece, but it was cold!

When race time rolled around we were off. No chip timing, just gun time, and I started myself towards the end of the pack. I was so nervous going into this because the course was pretty much all ice - slush had been run through and refroze on the trail so the only portion without ice was the last quarter mile, which was about 6 inches of snow. I'm not graceful under ideal circumstances and have a tendency to trip on flat level surfaces, so I was pretty convinced I was going to end up with some wicked bruises, but with freshly snow-screwed shoes I was off.

 Well I thought I was smiling, anyway!

Runners ahead of me slipped several times which was scary, but the atmosphere was SO nice! Everyone was checking one everyone and warning everyone else - and it wasn't long before we all slowed to a single file stop as we came to our first obstacle - a huge icy downed tree. After hopping over it carefully and getting started again I realized I was having a total blast, and I don't think I stopped smiling after. I never thought I'd enjoy jumping over frozen logs, but I did! I knew half way through I was totally hooked.

My favourite obstacle - a series of downed tree. It reminded me of a tire hop!
In the end my gun time ended up being 49 and some change, my garmin time was 48:34. Since the race isn't chip timed and I started near the end of the pack, I'm going with garmin time for this. To put the time in perspective, the winning time was 25 and change - this was a tough, tough course! And SO much fun.

Plus, the finisher gift was a...mason jar? I think I was supposed to drink a beer out of it..or something?

I will say that I definitely feel this race, even two days later. I used muscles I don't usually use for running and they have no qualms about telling me how much they hurt today! (Do you think I can count it as cross training? Hah!) For 16 minute miles, I am hella sore. But in a good way, and I had a total blast.

Next up on my race agenda is my chocolate race in Highland Park on 2/9 (yes! my candy race - I'm running it again! I don't think I'll beat my time from last year though - fitting runs in has been so much harder than I thought it would be!) and then the Muddy Monk Frozen 5 Miler trail race on 2/15.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Running and training and the changing of plans, oh my.

I will be honest, getting runs in with a small baby has been so, so much harder than ever anticipated. It sounded so easy when I was pregnant - my husband told me "And I'll kick you out the door so you can stay sane!" Easy, right?

Except not so much. Glorious plans for morning runs? Thwarted by a baby who will only let me sleep solidly from 2am to 7am. I will give up some sleep to run, but when one is barely sleeping ... giving up real sleep is not an option no matter how much you want to run.

Equally glorious plans for an evening run? Thwarted by a baby who nurses non stop at night.

And you know...that's okay. I miss running a lot. I'm pretty much only able to go on weekends, when my husband is home during the day. (Or the odd day he's home during the day, but that's not often.) He's not going to be this little forever and I really don't want to give up any moment I don't have to. He needs me right now and that's okay.

But I started to realize that going a week without a good CV workout was driving me nuts. I was getting antsy and cranky. So, I bought an elliptical. It's not a perfect substitute for running. It uses some of the same muscles so it's a solid cross train, and it will help prevent me from decaying entirely. But it's not running.

No, it's not running. But it's something...and he won't be this little forever. I have plans for running...I definitely do, because I have a season pass for Muddy Monk this year, and I'm already registered for the Cupid 10k...I'm not done with running, not by a long shot! Especially because when I do get to run I know I'm getting stronger and faster than I was before - I'm already at almost pre-baby speed. Which means I do think all the work I did means I'll end up faster than before - only time will tell!

Sooooo...anyone else hitting the trails with Muddy Monk this year?