Thursday, March 27, 2014

27 Weeks, 27 cm on March the 27th!

24 weeks pregnant

Not much new to report.  Things are staying almost boring right now!  Today I found out that I passed my glucose screening test, have gained a total of 19 pounds in this pregnancy, and am measuring right on track (27 cm and 27 weeks).

On the running front, things are going okay too.  We've still had some colder mornings here, so I work out on the elliptical on those days.  Except for a brief setback on our beach trip a couple of weeks ago (only worked out 1 time in 5 days!), I have kept up the 5-6 days of workouts a week.  Sometimes I am able to run 3 times a week, but mostly I am aiming for 2 runs a week.  My last 2 runs were my weekly "long" run with my usual running group (I wanted 10 miles but ended up finishing the run with them for 12 miles at a 9:40 pace last Saturday) and today's 5.5 mile run (around a 10:30 pace, included a potty stop since I'd had a big glass of water before heading out).  I feel fine when I run--no cramping or aches, but I have had some chaffing in some unusual spots for me.  So now I am remembering to use Body Glide before my runs!  Also, the weight of my tummy is getting a little much, so I am looking into a running belt to support me as I run.

As I head into the third trimester, I am looking towards other women who have "braved" running in this trimester to guide me.  I found this blog when searching the internet for blogs and really admired this girl's openness and thoroughness in describing her running.  Rick has casually mentioned a fall marathon, but I honestly think it is easier for me to run now (at 27 weeks pregnant) than it will be for me to run late summer with no sleep and while nursing a newborn!  How would I train for a marathon??  Of course, it is a very tempting offer and something that is fun to think about right now.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

21 Weeks and All is Well!

20 Weeks Pregnant
I am about 21 1/2 weeks now, and I'm still doing well.  We found out that we are having a girl!  The one thing I am struggling with is carrying the extra weight.  I gained a lot last month, and it is harder for me to move around already.  With 4 months left to go, it seems like it will be forever before I feel back to normal again.  I had a great run today with Jane (finally a warm day in the 50s!), where she really encouraged me to enjoy this season and to remember that I will get back to my "old me" soon.  Feeling this little girl move around has been so exciting, and it is all very worth it in the end!  But I crave the feeling I get after a good, hard run and miss the competitiveness of racing.

I will try to do a post on this later, but for now I will briefly recap Mountain Mist 2014.  I was able to slowly run some of the course thanks to good weather and a sitter for the kids.  I wanted to start this race that I love so much.  I was seeded first for the women (401) and enjoyed hearing about the women's race after I dropped out.  I was around 18 1/2 weeks pregnant in the pictures below.

Photos by Gregg Gelmis, We Run Huntsville

Friday, January 10, 2014

2014 Running...or Not??

So I have news which you may have suspected due to my lack of running-related posts lately.  I am expecting a baby!  I am 16 weeks along, and, thanks to my kids, I hope to have a nice picture with a chalkboard sign each week.  Yes, they are taking turns writing the sign and also taking the pictures!  It's so fun to have kids excited about the baby (with my first 2 only 14 months apart I've never had that before!).  As you can see from my picture, I am showing quite a bit already!  And even though we waited until the first trimester was over to tell people, many already suspected!  They were nice and said, "It's only because you were so tiny to begin with," but..ahem...a few areas grew so much (not just tummy) that it really was easy to tell.

What does this mean for my running?  Well, right now, I am still running but at a much lower intensity and lower miles.  In the first trimester, I was VERY fatigued and had to struggle to just carry on with normal life.  Running helped me feel less nauseous, but I found that it was hard to get motivated to go running.  I relied on the elliptical machine for most workouts.  My weekly "miles" (including these workouts) were around 30-40 miles of 5-6 days of working out.  I usually did 5-6 miles with one longer "run" (sometimes 10-12 miles of elliptical).  All of this was approved by my ObGyn.

Now in the second trimester, I am doing well---gaining weight and feeling MUCH more energy throughout the day.  I can run and feel fine later in the day, so I am trying to run 2-3 times a week and do the elliptical the rest of the days (usually taking a day off to rest).  This is all weather-dependent as we've had some COLD days, and I won't run in that.  Some of my holiday runs were alongside my children as they biked and we tried out our town's new greenway (about a 2.5 mile trip to a playground, a pause there to play, and the repeat trip back), pushing my daughter in the jogging stroller and then continuing the run on my own for a total of 12 miles, and even a very slow trail run with my husband for our New Year's Eve traditional run (done a few days early this year).  Most of my workouts are 5-6 miles on the elliptical still, but today I did get up early and do a run with my running group.  I will miss their company so much when I can no longer keep up with them!

I have never run this far into my pregnancies before.  I am listening to my body and doctor's advice.  My body has supported this pregnancy better than the others before it (I've had low progesterone levels in the past).  My doctor has said that every level of everything they've checked in this pregnancy is "perfect."  I plan to continue taking the running one day at a time.  For awhile there, I was having to pee at least once during a 6 mile run, and that just isn't possible when running with a group in a neighborhood.  So if that becomes an issue, or I don't feel good while running, or anything else, I will transition to other workouts designed for specifically for pregnant women (yoga, pilates, etc.).  But for now, I'm going to enjoy this stage I'm in.

A final word about 2014...I think not being able to run marathons really gets them stuck in your head!  I am excited to train after the baby is born (end of June).  My first marathon back will hopefully be our local Rocket City Marathon, where runners will experience an entirely new course for 2014!  I am excited about it already.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Here are some pictures of my running group at our Christmas GNO.  We met for dinner and an ornament exchange at Outback.  Although some of us didn't bring ornaments to exchange, our friend, Julia, handmade a running ornament for each one of us!  It is gorgeous and will be a keepsake for me for many years to come.  The back of it lists all sorts of words that relate to our running group, and you can see the front pictured below.  What a special night and a great group of friends!

front left: Michelle, Alice, Jamie, Jane, Allison
second row: me, Kristen, Tiffany
third row: Julia, Anna
back row: Courtney, Carey, Erin, Jan

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

HTC Awards Banquet

Last night was our annual HTC Awards Banquet.  I've gone to these on-and-off over the years, but this year I was very motivated to go.  I'd been told beforehand that Kylie, a good friend and teammate, would be receiving the Female Performance Award.  Back in 2004, I received this award, but I must say that Kylie deserves it much more than I did back then!  Her times are so fast!  But when Eric Charette, her award presenter, asked me if I could add anything about Kylie, I chose to tell him about what a great teammate she's been.  She's united us girls and included me on many training runs, and she's humble and very likable.  I couldn't wait to see her reaction when she found out she'd won!

If you're an HTC member, these banquets and meetings are free for you, and they include a nice catered meal at the Monte Sano Lodge (this time it was Zoe's Kitchen kabobs, salad, rice, and cookies).  The chance to socialize with the other runners is a big highlight for me too.  I brought my daughter with me tonight, and Rick took our son to basketball practice. 

Anyway, Eric's presentation of Kylie's award went great.  I thought I knew about Kylie's amazing performances this year, but Eric really knew her very well and gave many reasons why she was chosen for this award.  I enjoyed seeing someone so deserving get the award.  Others that received awards included Dink Taylor (he got many!), Josh Whitehead (Male Performance), and the Holiday Inn (our beloved Rocket City host hotel which is closing the day after the marathon this year).

I wasn't expecting an award, so I was surprised to receive 2nd place in the Female Grand Prix!  You can find results here, but the Grand Prix is basically a series of races throughout the year.  HTC members earn points based on how they finish in these events.  I've been as high as first place in the Grand Prix (also in 2004), but of course I dropped way down when I had my kids and slowly worked my way back up.  This year, I hadn't paid any attention to my rank (I do look it over when I get my HTC newsletter mailed to me each quarter), so I was totally surprised!  Kathy was first place, and we both received Fleet Feet gift cards!  Here are all of the winners (top 10% in their divisions):

Picture by James Hurley

I guess with this many runners it's a guarantee that someone will ruin the picture by wearing reflective clothing.  Way to go, Katie!

I looked over the results of the past few years, and I usually finished top 5, but finishing in 2nd place is really a honor...and kind of just "luck of the draw."  Sometimes it's your year, and sometimes it's not.  It's hard for runners to stay on top of their game year after year.  This year, it just so happened that I came out near the top.  I certainly was happy to receive the award though, and I am thankful for our wonderful track club and for the many benefits I am able to enjoy as a member.

Krispy Kreme Challenge!

So what do you do if you are just recovering from a marathon with no plans to race anything?  Why, you run the Krispy Kreme Challenge, of course!  This is a race where you run 2 miles to a Krispy Kreme where they have boxes of donuts waiting for you.  The challenge is to eat the entire dozen donuts and run back two more miles to the finish.  There is always someone from our racing team that goes out hard to win this race.  I, on the other hand, entered because our team was given a comp entry that no one else wanted (I waited until a couple of days before the race to ask for it), and I was NOT planning to eat the entire dozen.  If you don't eat the whole box, you can carry it back, and you receive a different colored finisher's shirt.  I could live with that.

I arrived at the race and did a 2-mile warm up with some team members.  Our great local photographer, Gregg Gelmis, was out capturing the event.  These pictures are all from him unless noted.

As the race started, I fell back and let many people in front of me.  I just took it easy.  When I arrived at the shop, I had no idea what to expect.  I found my teammate, Jill, going for first place.  I tucked in next to her and her friends to eat a few donuts.  I like this picture from James Hurley.  I'm all like, "Yes, I usually just stand around with a box of donuts in my hand in the middle of a race."  I'm actually looking away from the stack of donuts the guy in front of me is scarfing down!  Jill looks pretty miserable here.  That girl was doing amazing!

So after 4 donuts, I called it quits!  I took my box and started running (this was as per the instructions given on the race website, "Casual runners who are not competing to complete the Challenge may race back with a box of doughnuts to take home if they so choose.").  I look really happy about my finish here!  I just remembered to look up my time, and I was 4th female in the "non-challenge" category with a time of 38:04, or around an 8:00 minute pace for the running portion of my race (I ate for around 6 minutes).

Closing Thoughts
This race is for a good cause (United Cerebral Palsy), and it was a lot of fun.  I've never seen so many people having fun in a race!  I was able to bring home donuts to my kids and also get in a little run, so that was a win-win for me.  But, this race started as a fraternity challenge (so I heard anyway), and it's not really a good idea for anyone to eat an entire dozen donuts.  I didn't feel like I fit with the people scarfing down donuts.  There was the option to do teams of four, where the entire team eats only one dozen donuts.  I think that is a better option for me in the future.  Congrats to my teammates, Eric and Jill, who managed to eat the whole dozen and still post great running times with only a few minutes spent eating the donuts.  You guys sure helped me make a memory today!

Indianapolis, Indiana Monumental Marathon

Friday, November 1
We drove up to Indianapolis on Friday.  It was about 7 hours total, including stops.  Upon arriving, we headed to the expo to get our packets.  We really had not researched the marathon at all, so seeing the expo was the first chance I had to gauge the size of the race.  It seemed to be a fairly large race. We also stopped to look at the pace groups.  We had decided to aim for a sub-4 hour time, so we checked out the pacers near that time.

We met my sister at Siam Square, a nice Thai restaurant near her house.  Our stipulation was that it had to be kid-friendly, and it was!  The service was fast, and the food was good.  It's nice to have a filling, high-carbohydrate meal the night before the race, so this dish of white rice and shrimp was great for me.

We laid out our stuff and settled in to sleep.  I tossed and turned since her apartment had lots of loud people late into the night!  But I never worry about the sleep I get the night before a race.

Saturday, November 2
This race went well but was different from most of my races lately.  In this race, Rick and I started very conservatively and moved up as the race went on.  My splits started at 8:35 (we were just wanting sub-9 pace).  But everything seemed easy and was going well, so I picked up the pace to around 8:10's.  When I crossed the halfway point at 1:47, I knew I had a chance to get a sub 3:35!  I ended up negative-spliting!  This was not something I was expecting to do at all today.  With only minimal training, I knew that the last few miles could seem very hard, but that didn't happen.  I passed the 3:35 pacer and just kept going (this was near the end--maybe Mile 22?).  Rick surprised himself and felt even better than I did, so he took off around Mile 17 and picked up his pace a lot.

I finished the race in 3:32:31 (I do remember that the last mile seemed to take forever!).  What a surprise for me (and Rick, who got a 3:27).  With our training, we just did not think we could do this. These times are only about 20 minutes slower than we could do with good training right now.  I wasn't expecting a BQ, but I was amazed that I had done it!  It was a great way to finish my 30th marathon, and I think it shows the power of experience in the marathon.  We are well-seasoned marathon runners now, and this helped us greatly today.  Our bodies and minds remember this distance.  

The course was nice and flat, the weather was perfect (40s), and aid on the course was nice (Clif Bloks!).  I think these things helped us out.  And Rick, who tends to get put pressure on himself, did not feel any pressure today.  I also enjoyed not having the usual "PR pressure" on me today.  For me, I saw it as a "last chance," at least for another year or so.  I always run better when I think, "One day you will not be able to do this.  Today is not that day." It helps me to appreciate the moment so much more.  

After showers, we went to Bazbeaux's for some wonderful basil pizza.  It was almost a mile each way there and back, and we'd already walked 2 miles getting to and from the start/finish.  I was sore and stiff!  We went to a toy store and a grocery store and headed back to my sister's apartment for short naps.  

Dinner on Saturday night was Chipotle, and we made a trip to Trader Joe's and a nice mall.  I was exhausted that night and slept like a baby!

Sunday, November 3 
We had a great opportunity to spend one more night at Laurie's apartment.  It worked out since the kids have homeschool on Mondays, so they would not miss school if we drove back that day.  And Laurie pointed out that she'd watched the kids for Sunday marathons in the past.  Having this one on Saturday was great.  So today we went to Scotty's Brewhouse (we had looked it up that kids eat free on Sundays) and the Indiana State Museum (we used our U.S. Space and Rocket Center membership to get in for free!).  It was another day of walking...and lots of standing at the museum.  I definitely felt sore and tired today.

Indiana State Museum

We did a pretty riverwalk on the way back to Laurie's place.  

Rick points to where we finished yesterday.  
Crazy to see it totally back to being a regular old street.

Laurie is really into healthy eating, so she wanted to make us a good, made-from-scratch dinner.  The kids had never had brussel sprouts or asparagus before!  And the main dish was a delicious macaroni and cheese.

It was hard telling my sister good-bye.  I am so proud of her for moving to a new city alone, but I really miss her in Alabama.  And I am so moved by how willing she is to watch the kids for us.  She talked about flying out to meet us for some east coast marathons and others too.  I love that she offered that to us.  I could never repay her for what she's done for us in helping to make this dream possible for us.

Monday, November 4
 We set off for Alabama as Laurie headed off to work.  We made a stop in Louisville, Kentucky to visit the Kentucky Science Center (another free museum for us--yeah!).  This museum was great!  The kids had a such a good time that we had to go out and feed the meter to get more playtime!  We ate lunch in the car (Jimmy Johns) and made it home around 5:30.

Closing Thoughts
I love taking the time to look back on each marathon and reflect.  This one just seemed like such a gift--the unexpectedness of it, the uncertainty due to our lack of training, the utter surprise and joy of having a good race and finish, and the happiness of reaching the milestone of 30 marathons.  I am constantly surprised at what each race brings to me, and that is why I like running marathons so much.  I even enjoy reading about my races that went poorly.  There's lessons there too, and they toughen me up.  I feel amazed that I was able to BQ today and thankful for the chance to do it.  A lesson I can give you is to never be afraid to try something.  If we'd just taken the easy road and not done this race, we'd have missed an unforgettable experience.  As usual, the trip was a wonderful family vacation and a great chance to see a dear family member.  I love that marathoning lets me do all of these things together.

Race Pictures
So strange--I didn't receive any finish line photos!  And I looked through the "unidentified runners" and couldn't find me anywhere!  Oh well, I know I finished! 

Here are some pictures from the course and after the finish.

Loaded down with arm sleeves (pushed down), gloves in hand, and a water bottle!  With a start in the low 40s, I had to have the gloves and sleeves at the beginning.  

Mile 1 8:35
Mile 2 8:13
Mile 3 8:05
Mile 4 8:13
Mile 5 8:15
Mile 6 8:07
Mile 7 8:12
Mile 8 8:15
Mile 9 8:12
Mile 10 8:06
Mile 11 8:04
Mile 12 8:00
Mile 13 7:53
Mile 14 8:00
Mile 15 8:01
Mile 16 8:13
Mile 17 7:56
Mile 18 7:57
Mile 19 7:51
Mile 20 7:54
Mile 21 7:53
Mile 22 8:07
Mile 23 8:02
Mile 24 8:13
Mile 25 8:11
Mile 26 8:10 
.2 1:42