I am training for the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon on November 6, 2015, and I am 6 weeks into the program. It feels wonderful to be pushing myself for the first time since becoming pregnant with the baby (who is now almost 14 months). I picked Hal Higdon's Advanced 1 training program since I've used it before with good results.
I found it hard to select a time goal. I paced a 4:10 group last December for the Rocket City Marathon which felt very hard at the time. Before that, I had run the 2013 Monumental Marathon at 7.5 weeks pregnant in 3:32. It seemed more logical to go with that time even though the 4:10 was more recent. So based on my time in this race 2 years ago, I plan to train for a 3:30 time this year. This time is still nearly 20 minutes off of my PR, but I feel that it will be a realistic time goal given my current physical state.
I finished Week 6 this week with a few challenges. Fitting in the early morning runs before getting my shower, nursing the baby, and now walking the big kids to school at 7:20 a.m. (they started back on August 5--so early!) is tricky. Plus my husband, Rick, is also training, so I have to fit my runs around his. Some days I have only exactly enough time to run my distance, so we pass each other at our garage door, he heading in and me heading out. Some days when he's out running, I run laps around the front of my house (these are usually my 3-4 mile runs). I've also started waking up much earlier (as early as 3:30 a.m.), but I anticipate I may have to get up even earlier as the weeks go on in order to fit in the long runs. I'm sure these things aren't really anything new to most of you too. It's just an adjustment for me to be taking training more seriously now.
Another challenge is trying to fit in group long runs (which I enjoy) with my solo pace runs. Hal frequently calls for a pace run before the long run. The purpose of the pace runs is to get used to running the pace you will be maintaining race day--holding the pace consistently through a series of miles. These runs start at 5 miles and go up to 10 miles. The long run follows the next day so that you are running on somewhat fatigued legs. The long run is 30-90 seconds off of your goal pace time. It starts at 10 miles and builds to 3 20-mile runs during the 18 weeks of training. I normally complete these on Thursday (pace) and Friday (long).
This week it worked best for me to do my long run with my group on Thursday, meaning Friday (today) was left for a pace run. The group did 13 miles yesterday. My plan only called for 10 miles, but I ran the whole distance with them at just under a 9:00 pace. Today I had to run 7 miles at an 8:00 pace (my goal pace for a 3:30 marathon). I struggled through these miles and saw the reason for the order of these 2 runs! Trying to hold the challenging 8:00 pace was much harder with my tired legs from yesterday's long run! Remember, I am still getting back from pregnancy. I feel much weaker where I once felt strength. Today's run reminded me that I am not back yet.
Something that helped me today was the Apollo 13 quote, "Failure is not an option." I don't know why I thought of it today, but thankfully I did. I had started my run with an 8:26 mile, feeling so tired and needing a warm up (but not having left time in my morning for a proper one). I played a mental game of trying to "make back" the extra 26 seconds over the next 6 miles. I don't have my data in front of me, but I think the rest of the miles were 8:00, 7:58, 7:59, 7:48, 8:00, and 7:34, so I easily made up for the slower first mile to finish under 8:00 for the entire run. Thinking that "failure is not an option" pushed me to keep each mile on pace even though I was so tired. You might think that one run in an 18 week plan doesn't matter, but I beg to differ. Once you start letting yourself "cheat," you are only really cheating yourself! I also learned this week to really trust the training plan. There is a reason for the specific order of each run. Do your best to stick with that order if possible.
Thursday, July 30, 2015
I got a 21:23 at the Cotton Row Run 5K back on May 25. That was the exact same time I had gotten back in October at the Spooktacular 5K. I was a little bummed that I hadn't improved at all since then, but honestly I should not expect more right now. I haven't been doing any speedwork or any type of 5K training. Getting back to sub 20 is going to take some work.
I decided to push myself and try for a sub-21 at the I Love America 5K. I had a comp entry for the race, and most of my team was at another Fourth of July race. No reason not to just go for it even though these 5K races are HARD for me right now. We had a nice cooler day with some rain in the morning, and fellow teammate Alison and I set up the finish line arch before the race.
I was able to a get a first place female finish and a time of 20:59 (sub-21, I'll take it!). I didn't record my splits, but I did use a Garmin since I've been starting too fast in 5Ks and can't hold my pace. Today I went for sub 7 miles, trying to stay a little more consistent for all 3 miles. A high school girl was right behind me and finished only seconds behind me!
It felt so good to break that barrier of 21 minutes--with a time of 20:59 which would once be "slow" for me! I have a long way to go, but this race did wonders for my self confidence.
I am now in marathon training mode! 4 weeks into Hal Higdon's Advanced 1 going for a 3:30 in the Indianapolis Marathon in November. I did a 6 mile pace run today (8:00 pace, last mile was 7:30!). Faster runs are starting to feel good, and I am so happy about that! I'm also working on dropping the last of the baby weight. I will write more about that later if I find the time!
The race start
Nearing the finish!
*Note: The results say I finished in 20:17, but that is not my time. Something messed up with the timing.
Monday, June 29, 2015
Our 2015 Fleet Feet Huntsville Racing Team (I am bottom row, second from left)
After Cotton Row May 25, 2015
I just recently made it to one year of nursing my little one--no formula to supplement the whole year! Let me just say that if you can make it to 6 months, the rest seems pretty easy. They start solid foods and the feedings start to spread out. They're sleeping well, and you're getting rest too. I continued to drink a lot of water, ate oatmeal daily, and pumped whenever I missed a feeding (except after my long races). I also joined an on-line support group that gave lots of advice on how to increase your supply. I tried lactation cookies (around month 9 or 10) that many on the site recommended. I don't know if they helped, but it can't hurt!
Here's how we made it through the rest of her first year:
Month Eight (January 22-February 22): nursing 4-5 times a day (30-38 oz.)*, ran Mountain Mist 50K (left 15 oz. frozen milk, baby took 10 oz. and nursed when I finished race, I pumped when I got home but only got a couple of oz.), took it easy after MM, long run weekly of up to 13 miles
Month Nine (February 22-March 22): nursing 4-5 times a day (30-38 oz.)*, ran the Scottsboro Half (nursed afterwards during awards ceremony), baby eating baby food twice a day
Month Ten (March 22-April 22): nursing 4-5 times a day (20-32 oz.), ran McKay Hollow Madness without any trail runs since MM --cold day and my family did not come up to the finish line, baby was given pumped milk from frozen stash during missed feedings (around 6 oz. a feeding), I honestly can't remember if I pumped or not when I got home!?, that's the good thing about a freezer stash--you can allow your body time to recover and not pump if you don't feel like it!, baby eating baby food twice a day
Month Eleven (April 22-May 22): nursing 3-4 times a day (20-32 oz.), running 6 times a week, up to a 13 mile long run, normal runs around 4-6 miles, no races, baby eating baby food and table food 2-3 times a day, freezer supply almost expiring! Mostly milk from December-January is left (6 month shelf life in an ordinary freezer--not a deep freezer), began restocking the stash by pumping once a day (3 oz. a time) IF she skips a feeding (she's going down from 4 to 3 feedings most days now)
Month Twelve (May 22-June 22): nursing 3-4 times a day (20-32 oz.), ran the Cotton Row 5K, up to a 13 mile long run, baby eating baby food and table food 2-3 times a day, baby drank the milk pumped from Mountain Mist in January this month!, baby taking water from sippy cup, have finished creating a freezer stash of extra milk (about 60 oz. or so), can be on cows' milk now!
I am not done nursing and plan to continue a little longer. I was worried about my supply at the 9 month doctor visit since my older daughter's weight percentile plummeted at her 9 month visit, but this baby was doing well--still at 40%. At her one year visit she was at 50%. Running and nursing is definitely doable with a little extra effort to plan your runs and races!
Thursday, April 9, 2015
I just have a quick story to share about our Fleet Fleet Racing team meeting on March 8, 2015. They usually hold our orientation meetings on Sunday nights, which is also the night our babysitter has church. So we usually just end up bringing the kids. We're the only "husband-wife with children" couple on the team. It's never been too much of a problem, and I am so happy that Rick is on the team with me. But it is hard to attend these annual meetings!
So we brought the kids tonight to the store after hours for the meeting. We told the big kids to find a spot to sit quietly and read or draw, and the baby was being good. Our team leaders had us do a group activity where we had to pair up and make posters for the Bridgestreet half marathon. Rick had the baby. I got paired with Rob Youngren, and we got so busy thinking of motivational sayings that I didn't think of what the big kids were doing. When it got time to share the posters, I discovered that my big kids had been asked to help Susi with her poster!
It meant a lot that she'd included them. Then the team went on to give out an award for best poster, and they chose my kids' poster to win (if you know my daughter, she is so competitive so she just lit up when they announced this). Just the fact that they'd included my family and made them feel welcome and not unwanted was so touching. It makes me so thankful for these teammates. They are an amazing group of runners. My kids have grown up in this community and don't think anything about it, but I know how special it is that they are being influenced by them all.
Susi with my big kids
Julia and Rick's poster
Rob's and my poster
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
I got up at 5 a.m. and showered and nursed the baby. I was actually a little sad that this will be my last long race while having a nursling. I've gotten used to the routine of our pre-race snuggles. They calm me.
I headed up to the mountain at 6 a.m. and arrived around 6:30. I parked on the field where they were directing us and headed to the bathrooms. It was near freezing, but I was pressed for time (7:00 a.m. start), so I went ahead and left my warm up stuff in the car. I wasn't too cold in compression socks, arm sleeves, a hat, and gloves.
Afterwards, I headed to the pavilion to gather around the fire with the other racers. I chatted a little with the eventual race winner, Josh Whitehead, as we headed to the start line.
As the race began I had NO expectations for me. Ever since Mountain Mist, my left ankle gets a little tender at times. I wasn't sure how it would do today. I also hadn't been on trails since Mountain Mist, and I hadn't run this course in 2 years! I had one thing going for me--I had run a half marathon two weeks ago. I knew I could handle the distance, but trail races are not the same as road races!
As far as pace goes, I didn't even wear a Garmin. I was thinking that I'd finish around 3 hours, and I didn't want to start too fast. I ended up running alongside Christy Scott for the first few miles and we just chatted. It felt SO good to be on the trails again! They were muddy and lots of fun! We noticed some girls ahead of us, but the 12K starts with the 25K, so we figured they were 12K runners.
Here I am with Christy right behind me.
I warmed up very quickly and had to take off my gloves and hat and pull my arm sleeves down. I made it to the first aid station (5.1 miles), and we started a steep descent on the McKay Hollow Trail (NOTE: See here for a much better course description than I can give!). I heard Christy call out, "Let's go get 'em, Katie!" or something like that, and I just took off down the descent. It felt so amazing to just fly down the mountain. I was loving it.
I ended up alone for most of the rest of the race. I made it into the 2nd aid station (around 9.8 miles) and got peanut butter filled pretzels, Mello Yello, and more Gatorade in my bottle. As I started back on the trails, I knew there was a girl ahead of me, but I saw her on Natural Well Trail sitting down. She'd twisted her knee. I passed her and knew I was in first place, but I kept thinking that Christy would catch me any second!
I crossed the S.O.B. Ditch with Gregg taking pictures of my clumsiness!
The last few miles I was very tired but giving it my all. A girl passed me and became the eventual winner and Christy almost caught me! The last climb is so tough (go read the link I shared for a good description) and you are so spent by this point. I just love being brought to this point though--sheer exhaustion! It's an incredible feeling. Finally, I made it to the finish! Gregg took more pictures as I came in.
I finished in 2:58:09. Right under 3 hours! I was given a coupon for free shoes and a free Road ID, a transition towel, and a finisher's glass. I headed over to the aid station but got VERY cold quickly. So I added clothes in my car and went back to the pavilion to grab food and chat with other finishers.
Here are the top 3 women: me (2nd), Chai-Chi Kuo (1st) and Christy Scott (3rd).
I am feeling better and better each race I do. Today I ended up with blisters on the bottom of both feet, but they hardly bothered me. I feel good about how I am coming back and am looking forward now to 5Ks and 10Ks this summer.
Thursday, April 2, 2015
March 28, 2015
From race website: The McKay Hollow Madness Trail Run is roughly 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) of mostly single track trail. The course is run on sections of the Sinks, Panther Knob, Stone Cut, Mountain Mist, Goat, Warpath Ridge, McKay Hollow, Arrowhead and Natural Well Trails. This is a technical race with some difficult climbs and descents.
Race Report to follow
On Sunday, February 8, 2015 my family did the Winter Winds 2 and 4 mile races in Huntsville, Alabama. It was the first time all of us (minus the baby) attempted a race together, and we all placed in our age groups. It was a really fun time.
Rick ran the 4 mile run and then watched the baby for me while I ran with my older daughter in the 2 mile run. My son also ran in the 2 mile run. Results found here. It's fun to find ways to race together as a family. I hope this is the first of many family races we will do!
Pictures by Gregg Gelmis. Just happen to not have any of my son. He was there too!