My general goal of any year is to hit 1000 miles in the year, and when I took a peek to write my 2015 running year in review I was at 1,226.5 miles, not too shabby! I also had a period of sadly being locked out of my blog so I missed getting in some race recaps and various training insights and epiphanies. In addition to having some fast races to close out the year, perhaps the most significant moment of this year was my decision to hire a coach. We started Dec. 1 and the next six months of running are all about working Coach’s plan. But before we look ahead, some running moments of this year.
I normally spend my time pining after the next race, obsessing over the next training plan. I go from one race to the next whether its a 5k, 10k, half marathon or marathon focus. I love planning out my race schedule and aligning my training plans to go with them. Sometimes that training focus is on building a base; many times my training focus has been on simply working the plan–tempos, speedwork, hills, LSDs. Being pregnant doesn’t really lend itself to having a “traditional” training focus. I won’t be focusing on speed or logging big mile weeks. And I won’t be training for any particular race (though there are a few on the schedule). Continue reading
I’m somewhere around 5 weeks as I write this post and am having many mixed emotions. Excited about baby number two, fearful of losing my fitness, all that I’ve trained for and the work I’ll have to do to get it back but also ready for the challenge of making it all work. I said in the very first post in this series to keep it honest. So that’s what I’m doing here, for better or for worse.
One common piece of advice to pregnant women with regard to staying fit is that you should be able to continue doing the same things you did pre-pregnancy during pregnancy. So if you were always a runner, keep running. If you bike, keep biking. If you did pilates or yoga, keep at it.
In my particular case, running is my “go to.” I was always running pre-pregnancy so I will continue to run throughout pregnancy. What is holding me up this time, is that I didn’t go into this one in marathon shape; half marathon shape at best. My longest run in December was 7 miles. I had high hopes of taking on a pregnant half marathon in March, just to do it, but with each run I am trying to rationalize with myself that 10ks are a smarter choice if I have to race. I am hopeful to maintain my 3 days a week of running and use one of those as a weekend long run, preferably staying in the 7-10 mile range for as long as possible. The frustration I have is that even in these early weeks I can already feel a little more challenge in the runs. Maybe not so much a challenge as an innate understanding that I need to go slower. I mentally want to push myself for my sub-8 minute pace but the last few runs it’s just not been the right thing to do. I want to warn runners that if you had been used to pushing yourself, to doing speedwork, tempos, hill work, training for a pace–it all changes. There is a major shift in what your body will allow (and want) you to do comfortably. And it is ALL mental. If you think hard enough about while you’re running, you can stop focusing on pace and just enjoy running. I know I sound like I’m complaining. And I also realize this makes it sound like “running just to run” isn’t worth it but for me it is a readjustment. For the next 8 months I cannot consider running a competitive outlet. It simply as to be my outlet. It will keep me grounded, keep my mind clear, give me fresh perspective, and hopefully help keep me in shape to bounce back fast.
I also went into this pregnancy with a tiny bit of cross-training under my belt and I knew full well that if I was in shape to do certain things pre-pregnancy that I could continue doing them throughout pregnancy. These last few weeks I have been pushing it a bit to “get in” more cross-training in the early weeks so that I can tell myself I can continue to do these things for the next 8 months. I took back up rowing 1-2 times per week with my mini circuit training of squats, lunges, push-ups and core work. I added in a spin class once a week at a new spin studio in Baltimore (which is awesome by the way, check it out: Revuup). I also took on yoga for runners with three different videos on RW.com hosted by Rebecca Pacheco.
The early weeks are hard. They’re hard because they’re so early that you’re not supposed to tell anyone you’re pregnant so you feel like you’re keeping a secret and yet all you want to do is shout it out. They’re hard because you want to keep doing everything you would normally do but you’re not sure of any new limitations. They’re hard because depending on the woman and pregnancy, you may be zapped of energy to even think about staying fit. They’re just hard. But perhaps they’re also the ideal challenge to see what you’re capable of powering through.
If you’re in your early weeks of pregnancy and feel like it’s just hard, I understand. If you wish you could run faster again, I hear you loud and clear. But keep running. And stay honest!
P.s. This post was written January 15 and held for a post-date publication until we were in the “safe zone.”
Ok, maybe not “day one” exactly since I’m not sure you can ever say exactly when a woman’s first pregnant day is, but nonetheless, I’m starting this at the beginning this time. I’ve already been through pregnant running before and I did a poor job of capturing that experience. There is also not a lot out there (that I can find) that is helpful, or honest enough, about what it’s like to run pregnant. So here we go. Welcome to my no-holds-barred, probably TMI most of the time, log of running pregnant with baby number two.
Step One: Be Brutally Honest
I apologize in advance to my unborn child but the day I found out I was pregnant I cried. And when I told my husband, I sobbed for a hot minute and wiped the tears. I wallowed in self-pity, doubt, frustration and general “bummed out-ness” for the first day. We’d been talking on and off about a second child for a while and I resigned to myself that I am a one child woman but that if it happened, it happened. Time to be brutally honest in order to just move on: my biggest fear of having a second child is losing myself and losing my “freedom” to race and train. Work? I can definitely keep doing that, and want to. Time with friends? No problem. They all have children, some of them with more than one. Travel? Not as easy but we’ll figure it out. Training and racing? There’s my real challenge.
How do I ask my husband to give me those 3-4 hours on a Saturday morning so I can go for a long run, stretch and shower later while he mans two children? How do I work out my morning logistics so I can still get up and run and get two children ready for daycare plus myself ready for work? These are truly my biggest fears and questions when it comes to being a working mother of multiple children. One has been almost easy now that I think about trying it with two.
Step Two: Keep Running!
With baby number one I was well into marathon training for the Marine Corps Marathon and carried on with the training. I ran that race at the very end of my first trimester. From there I kept running as long as I could with no real rhyme or reason to the miles.
The day we found out about baby number two I’d just been trying to figure out my 2014 race plan with the goal of doing a spring marathon. I can easily recall the runs the week prior to January 5 and they were still at about the right speed but low in quality. On at least two of them I was hungover (hey, it was the holidays!). On another, a 6.66 mile long run I put in my log notes later how I felt sluggish. I did 5 miles on January 4 with a hunch that I was pregnant and my legs felt heavy and my breathing off. Pace was still staying below 8 minutes which made me happy.
On “day one” of being pregnant I went out for a four-miler and made some resolutions. I will try to do a March half marathon and two spring 10ks. I will do my absolute best to run the June Father’s Day 10k in Annapolis. With this baby due in September, if I can manage the Annapolis 10-miler in August that will be amazing. I’m not ruling it out yet. This plan forces me to keep running. I know that it will get harder and that I will lose speed. But there are some things I plan to do different. Namely, I will be doing kegels starting now! No one told me about the total loss of bladder control that pregnancy causes. I had to pop one too many squats during and after pregnant runs with baby number one. There’s no way to tell if kegels early on will fix that but it can’t hurt to try! I have already started doing yoga and more strength work so I plan to keep up with all of that though I know it will become modified with time.
For now, my plan is to absolutely keep running. Keep moving. Keep working on strength and flexibility. I will report back regularly!
Ps. This post was written on January 5 and I waited the obligatory “safe time” before publishing this post as this makes my news very public!
In November I ran two half marathons, one of which was an awesome PR. I had a couple shorter runs on the calendar for the rest of the year–a Turkey Trot and the Baltimore Celtic Solstice 5-miler to be exact–so nothing that required me to really keep up my mileage. Like every year before, I (still) have all intentions of doing more strength training this winter while maintaining a base. The problem is that I’m not positive I know what mileage counts as a “base” nor do I know yet what to try and maintain as I haven’t nailed down my 2014 race plans yet. And so, I have fallen into the trap of the winter mileage decline.
I am very pleased to report that I’ve been running pain-free for about four weeks. I give enormous credit to Doyle & Taylor Physical Therapy in Annapolis and also have to admit that a reduced weekly running schedule (3 days) combined with diligent strength exercises and stretching have allowed me to resolve the sources of my hip pain. I’m not entirely convinced the pain is gone for good but I am most definitely back to my normal running pace, comfort level and optimism. Continue reading
The Big Cottonwood Canyon Marathon in Salt Lake City was my first attempt to run a Boston qualifying race and my sixth marathon. I spent 13 weeks training for this race and had months of previous training and races under my belt. The big thing I was never sure I could properly train for was the significant amount of downhills at this race…18-20 miles of downhill to be exact with the final miles on a relatively flat grade. I also had never traveled this far for a race before so there were some additional prep and logistics to take into account. There were a lot of lessons learned at this race and while there are some things I would do differently, I think one sign of a good race is knowing that I would do it again. To quote a phrase of my old boss, “last line first.” I was running this race with the hopes of qualifying for the 30-34 age group 2014 Boston Marathon. I came in 42 seconds shy of a BQ and finished in 3:35:42. Now for the details! Continue reading
Today I was supposed to run 20 miles. When I looked at the hourly weather report last night, it was to be 81 degrees at 6 a.m. and up to 90+ a heat index of over 100 by 9 a.m. I hoped to be home by then. I left the house at 5:52 and within my first steps I felt dehydrated. By the first half mile my four frozen water bottles were thawing out. And within the first three miles I had decided I would reevaluate my run at a certain point in my route at which I could return home early or stick it out for 20 miles. Continue reading
On the opening slide of one of our capabilities presentations is a brief infographic with an overview of r2i, (the digital marketing and technology agency where I’m Director of Marketing) and there is a snapshot of things we love. At the top of the list is the Candy Wall. For the purposes of this post, it is absolutely a proper noun. The problem is, it’s not just one Wall of Candy where there are jars of Reese’s Pieces (my favorite), gummie bears, peppermint patties, peanut M&Ms and more; there’s candy around every corner. It’s in the lobby, conference rooms, the kitchen, at the printer stations, on our desks! And it just so happens one of my biggest weaknesses is my sweet tooth. Continue reading
This year, Mother’s Day fell on the 5 week birthday of my new son and I treated myself to my first post-partum run. Having run all through pregnancy I cheated a bit on the post-partum rest period and gave myself four weeks of rest instead of the typical six weeks after giving birth. My rest period did involve lots of walking but I was anxious to hit the five week mark and try a run. Continue reading