Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Marathon #31 Done, Whew!

4:09:28 (pacing for the 4:10 group)
Rocket City Marathon 12-13-14

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Update--Marathon Training and More

So next to me sits a stack of race bibs.  I normally write on the back of them shortly after I finish a race.  I put the time I got, my splits, and my place.  Not now.  Life is just going way too fast.  Time with the baby is too precious for me.  LOTS of little things have slipped through the cracks, and this is just one of them.

But still.

I want to keep up this blog for me and anyone else reading who cares what a five-month postpartum mother's running looks like.

5Ks In the Fall
I picked up my miles in the fall, mainly starting after the baby began to consistently sleep through the night (around 2 months).  I was/am able to run 3-4 miles each morning.  Not back to my usual 6+, but I'll take it for now.  I also started adding in a longer run of around 12 miles in September, around 16 in November, and around 20 miles in November.

I raced Liz Hurley (October 18 21:42 1st AG), Spooktacular (October 25 21:23 1st AG), and the Krispy Kreme Challenge (that one with my son.  We did not eat a dozen donuts--he had 4 and I had 3.  We ran the whole time though--a little over 4 miles, and we had a blast!).

I noticed that I've placed in my age group or overall in every 5K I've done since having the baby (the other summer 5Ks were Twilight 5K (July 19 25:07 with my son 3rd AG), Run for Hope (August 2 23:33 2nd OAF), Monte Sano 5K (August 30 23:25 1st AG).

5Ks since baby:

I've also picked up my pace to around 21 minutes.  I'm happy with that, given that I'm not doing speed work.  I've been surprised to have gotten an age group or overall award at each of these 5Ks too.  It's been good motivation for me to run as hard as I can.

Running With the Kids

I've really loved the 2 races I did with my son, along with some other runs just for fun.  I love running with him!  Here we are before the Krispy Kreme Challenge.

My daughter ran a one-mile for her school and fell at the start.  What to do???  I'm so proud to say that she got right back up and kept running, even while blood was trickling down her leg and she was fighting back tears.  Her time was around 8 minutes, and she was 2nd place in her grade.  She's tough, and I love that about her.  

Rocket City Marathon Training

I've marathon trained (probably my worst training cycle ever), and I'm going to attempt pacing the 4:10 group on Saturday.  I still nurse the baby exclusively, and that adds TONS of challenges. Timing, wardrobe issues, etc. just to name a few.  I managed one 20-miler but felt some weird pelvic pain on and off the night afterwards.  I'm not sure if it's too early after having the baby to attempt it.

This will be my fourth time to pace, and it's something I find both challenging and rewarding at the same time!  Here are a couple of pictures of my favorite experience pacing, back in 2012.  Rick and I paced the 3:45 group (my fastest pace group yet), we were dead on-pace, he kissed me at the finish line, and they used our photos for race publicity.  A good experience for sure!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Autumn Chase, Volunteering, and New and Old Long Runs

Autumn Chase

Autumn Chase was Thursday, September 18.  This is a one-mile event for elementary students in Huntsville, AL.  Our team volunteers by pacing the runs (each grade has two races--one for boys and one for girls so there are many races to pace).  Rick and I alternated running the one-mile races this year.  I think I did about 5 miles total.  I paced an adorable little boy in the kindergarten race who just wanted someone to walk with.  He was so tired and was crying so I didn't push him.  At the end of the race, I asked if he had his mom or anyone waiting for him at the finish.  He spotted his brother and quickly started running for him!  I guess he just needed the right motivation.

My daughter wanted me to run with her in her race.  I stayed near her for much of the race.  With just a little left to go, she was in 3rd place.  The girls who were in 1st and 2nd were neck and neck, just right in front of her.  So I yelled, "C'mon girls!  Who wants 1st place?" and I veered off to watch them finish.  Well, my daughter just took off!  She passed those other girls and sprinted to the finish.  I was so proud of her!  She got an 8:04.  My son ran his race after hers and got 9th overall with a time of 7:24.  They both helped clean up the flags and cones after the races had ended.  I sat and tried to get my baby to take her bottle!  She prefers to be nursed, but she will take a bottle if it's warm.  This one was not but I didn't want it to go to waste and frankly it was not a very convenient place to nurse.

Liz Hurley Volunteering

My family went to stuff packets for the Liz Hurley 5K on Saturday, October 4.  This is a GREAT way for families to volunteer!  I always leave feeling a little guilty since we are treated to many freebies!  Today, we were given a free Mexican lunch and many snacks.  My whole family helped (and the baby napped).  My son actually got to a table and had begun stuffing the packets before I did!  There were 7,000 packets to stuff, so I guess we made a dent in that but there was more to do when we left.

New and Old Long Runs

Below are two runs from almost exactly a year apart.  The top was 14 miles this past Saturday, October 11, 2014.  The bottom was 13.1 miles last year on October 11, 2013.  Though the average on the top one is messed up (forgot to hit stop on the Garmin), they really were very similar times.  Seems like I'm hanging out near 8:45 pace right now in runs from 10-14 miles.  It's encouraging to notice that my runs have returned to where I was last year in both their times and distances (I didn't use the Garmin at all for a whole year--these runs were nearly back-to-back in my data).  My two goal races for winter are the Rocket City Marathon (pacing the 4:10 group) and Mountain Mist 50K.  I need long runs in order to do these races.  I have about 8 weeks to get up to a 20 mile run and then taper to the marathon.  I am running about 3 miles 5 times a week a week with one longer run.  I'm feeling good and am slowly returning to running!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Monte Sano 5K and 12 Weeks Postpartum

It's still going well here.  At 12 weeks postpartum, I am back to exercising 6 days a week.  This seemed so impossible to me around 6 weeks ago.  I felt so tired!  So I took things easy.  I took days off until I felt like exercising again.  The baby's nighttime sleep is so crucial to your ability to exercise at the beginning.  Once my baby started sleeping through the night (around 8 weeks), I felt more energetic and could plan my morning runs.  Unfortunately when nursing this usually means feeding or pumping before a morning run.

Now I am doing weekly runs of 2-5 miles and a weekly "long run" of around 10 miles.  I never thought at 32 weeks pregnant that it would take me 5 months to get back to 10 mile runs!  It is so hard to find the time in between the feedings and everything else!  For me, I have the most time on Saturdays, but some of those are filled with races or soccer games.  And it's been so hot that I could not really run in the afternoons.  Luckily last weekend we had a perfect day so I ran after soccer.  It was a 1 hour 50 minute run that I'm guessing was 11 miles or so.  I ran with music for the first time in months.  It was so nice!

I am also running with the jogging stroller (taking it very easy with the baby though and keeping the runs short!).  I run alongside my 2 older kids (8 and 7 years old) as they ride their bikes.  I parked the stroller near a stream and ran back and forth nearby while the big kids played in the stream and the baby slept in the stroller.  Getting creative has been the key to my return to running!  I am so thankful that my baby sleeps until after 7 a.m. now, but I am still too tired to get up at 5 a.m. like I used to for a run.  I hope to get there soon, but I know that taking care of myself is the most important thing right now.  And keeping up my milk supply for her!  

My family volunteered at the water station of the Monte Sano 10K race on Saturday, August 30.  Pictures by Gregg Gelmis.

Then I ran the 5K.  I started too fast and ended up finishing 5th woman with a time near 23:30.  For the tough course and my training, it was a good time.  It felt incredibly hard!!  My weekly runs are still near 10 minute miles, when I bother to time them.  I am not working on speed right now, just trying to get back to shape.  It will come slowly.

I'm in the pink shirt to the right in these pictures.

I'm happy to be racing again!  
After this, my team captain gave me a medium racing team singlet, so now I can represent the team again properly!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Postpartum Running: The First Two Months

Two months out from Baby #3's birth, and so much to report!  I have resumed 3-4 weekly runs after barely running at all the first month.  The runs are shorter and slower than before, but it feels so good to be running again!  How to fit it in?  Any way I can!!!  I sometimes go for between 10-20 minutes while Rick showers after his run.  Running in the mornings is hard right now, since I am nursing and pumping each morning and the baby is not on a scheduled wake up time yet.  I am aiming to get her sleeping through the night and waking at 7 a.m.  Then I will be able to run at 5 a.m. again.

I sometimes run during the day when my kids are home (they homeschool two days a week and go to school the other days).  I run a route that takes me within site of our house at all times, so they can see me from our windows.  It's basically a cul-de-sac, and then I turn and run the street in front of our house a bit, then turn around and run the entrance to our neighborhood.  It's very monotonous but it works!  And now I can take the baby out for short runs during the day in our single jogger.  She loves it and has never cried in the stroller!  I wonder if she "remembers" our runs when she was inside me?  

The 2 5Ks I did turned out well.  At the Twilight 5K on July 19, my son and I ran 25:04 (him) and 25:07 minutes, a 5 minute PR for him!  I shot off for the first mile but then we slowed down and ran the rest at a slower pace.  We both placed in our age groups!  He was the only one in his, and I got 3rd in mine!  Then two weeks later I ran the Race for Hope 5K with a comp entry.  I improved my 5K time to around 23:30 (can't find results) and placed 2nd overall female.  I was happy with that time and with my first 7 minute mile postpartum!  I have a long way to go and feel a little like Nicholas Cage's character in The Family Man when he bowls and knocks over a couple of pins and shouts "YES!!!!" while his teammates groan in the background.  I am celebrating my return to running and will celebrate each small step in that process even though they may appear insignificant to others!  

That reminds me of a favorite quote of mine about our "ultimate race."  See my previous entry about it here.  Last year when I was easily running a 20 minute 5K did I give it the "importance of something I may never do again?"  Running for me is now about fitness.  I want to get back into shape and stay in shape.  I have no other goals for the moment.  A 20 minute 5K sounds so unreachable for the moment.  The Rocket City Marathon was my goal before the baby came.  And now?  It just doesn't feel so important.  I HOPE to get there, but when I do it won't be with quite the drive I had before.  My focus is on this new little baby.  My energy is spent on taking care of her.  I look to the past and see my races as my "ultimate races," at least for now.  This is especially true of the marathon.  None of us know when our ultimate race will be.  Here's the quote:

"Take time to enjoy your accomplishments. They will have a lot more meaning later in life if you do. You ran a PR, or won a race, or won your age group and you had that feeling of accomplishment that you trained so hard for. Did you give it the importance of something you may never do again? Probably not. Everyone expects the next race, or one soon to follow, will be a new and better accomplishment. And early in your running that may very well happen, even frequently, but one day you will have run your ultimate race. Not until later will you realize that." (emphasis added)

Here I am 6 weeks postpartum in the Race for Hope 5K.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

She's Here!... and Benefits of Exercising Until the Very End (It's Hard But Worth It!)

Our baby girl made it safely into the world on Sunday, June 22 at 8:06 p.m.  What a whirlwind entrance she made!  After only a few hours of laboring at home, we rushed to the hospital and discovered I was already at 9 centimeters.  Needless to say, I was able to achieve my dream of a drug-free labor, but it was definitely a scary and painful experience for me.  Our daughter is now almost 3 weeks old, and we all love her so.

I have spent some of the last 3 weeks reflecting on the benefits of keeping up exercising (specifically running) until the very end of pregnancy.

I exercised throughout my pregnancy.  The day I had my daughter, I had walked 3 miles (chose not to run that day since I was feeling lots of pressure and some contractions, but walking felt great).  Two days before I had her, I had walked/jogged for 6 miles total, with 3 of those being a jog (lots of walking in between but 1.5 miles of continuous jogging!).  Running was something I wanted to keep up as long as I could.  I had run a marathon while early pregnant and ran a "long" run of 10 miles until around 32 weeks.  I also continued a couple 6 mile runs each week too and did the elliptical machine a couple times a week.  I noticed a significant drop in pace and desire to run around 34 weeks, but I kept up a few miles a week until the very end.  All in all, I did some form of exercise 5-7 days a week throughout the pregnancy, but at the end it was in the form of walking, jogging, and the elliptical machine.

I also resumed exercise shortly after the birth.  I know this is not typical, but I did a 3 mile run just a little under a week after having her, putting only 8 days in between my runs before having her and after having her.  Again, I don't endorse this or think it's typical, but I'm listening to my body and slowly easing back into things.  Nothing major yet.  Most days I don't do any form of exercise except our nightly 1 mile walk (which we resumed the 2nd day home from the hospital).  So short walks with 3-6 mile easy jogs are all I've done so far.

What benefits have I noticed? (I will also make comparisons to my other two pregnancies here.  Though I did exercise in both of them, I did not run until the end with either pregnancy.)

*Complication-free pregnancy.  No backaches, no gestational diabetes, no high blood pressure, etc.  In fact, I felt very good until near the end.  I didn't tolerate the heat well and felt uncomfortable being outside.  Being "advanced maternal age" (I'll be 37 next month), I felt like exercise helped me to be healthy throughout my pregnancy and to avoid some of the conditions that sometimes plague "older" mothers.

*Easy natural labor.  Of course, I had read up on natural labor and done stretches to prepare, but I feel like being in good physical condition also helped me achieve this.  My labor was 5.5 hours long, from first contraction to delivery.  My awesome husband coached me through the tough spots.  I think it helped that we are both marathoners and know our bodies well.  Labor is just another way God designed our bodies to work, and the uterus is just another muscle doing its job.  Also note that I had epidurals with both of my other babies, so this whole experience was new to me and opened my eyes to what I am capable of if I try.

*Smaller baby. I had no idea if exercise would affect my baby's size, but I do feel like it had an impact (although a small one).  My other babies were 8 lb. 3 oz. (born on due date) and 8 lb. 8 oz. (born 1 day early).  This baby was 7 lb. 14 oz. (born 3 days early).  My family has babies in the 9-10 lb. range, and I feared a larger baby was inevitable for me.  So this baby's size, though not much smaller, was a pleasant surprise for me.

*Possible earlier labor?  This was something I was really wanting to cause...going on my own without an induction.  It's common for 3rd pregnancies to have a slightly early labor (around a week early), but it is with 2nd pregnancies too and that wasn't true for me.  I initially was worried about preterm labor, but exercise did not cause that!

Around 37 weeks, I started trying an herbal raspberry tea to help start contractions, and I eventually drank the whole box without any real labor!  I was very discouraged because I thought all of the walking I was doing the last few weeks (7 days a week of daily walks of 3-7 miles total with some jogging OR elliptical machine for the equivalent number of miles) had to do something.  I knew my doctor didn't want me to go past 41 weeks, so I was really trying to start labor on my own.  I didn't want an induction (I had one with my 2nd pregnancy, but this time I wanted to experience the surprise of labor starting on its own).  I was 3 cm for a week before I went into labor on my own 3 days before her due date.  I'll never know if the exercising helped, but I did lose my mucus plug the morning I went into labor, right after I did my walk and morning stretches.  Since this was the earliest labor of all 3 of my pregnancies, I guess I can say that exercise may have helped that a little.

*Less weight gain and quicker weight loss. With my son, I gained 31 lb. and had lost 25 by 6 weeks postpartum.  With my first daughter, I had gained 37 lb. and lost 18 lb. 6 weeks postpartum.  Here is where I am really surprised at the difference.  With this pregnancy I gained 28 lb. and have lost 25 lb. already!  I only lost 11 lb. with the delivery, but once home I dropped another 14 lb. in the first week or so (I noticed sweating at night and lots of peeing!!).  This was (of course) without any type of dieting or any exercise except the nightly walking and one 3 mile run during that week.  I am nursing, but I did with the other two also, so I attribute the weight loss to the exercising I did during pregnancy.  Although while pregnant I had some discouraging months of large weight gain (I put on 13 lb. in a month!), I now realize how quickly this weight would drop once not needed.

*State of Mind.  Exercise helps me to relax, to sort things out in my mind.  Without it, I find it hard to feel like "me."  So even though I wasn't doing crazy miles, I still was able to get up and have that time to myself.  In fact, when I would walk (usually for an hour), I would not bring music.  I was alone in my thoughts.  It was good for me to have this time.

In my sleep-deprived state of mind, this is all I have to offer right now.  I hope it makes sense and can possibly encourage someone else out there to continue running during pregnancy.  It's good for you and baby!

Next up...my son and I plan to complete the Twilight 5K a week from today.  He's been training with me and I love it!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Late in Third Trimester Running!

I am 38 weeks and 1 day.  Yes, definitely counting each day now!  We've had a really mild summer so far with many cloudy and rainy days and highs in the low 80s.  This makes it easier for me, but I do hope we get some hot, sunny days soon so the kids can enjoy the pool!

As I enter the homestretch, I am blown away by the amazing adaptability of a woman's body.  This 30-time marathoner's body has changed into the home of a little, delicate baby all in the span of less than 9 months!    

And am I still a runner?  Yes!  This is something else that has amazed me.  Since about 34 weeks, I have made a steady decrease in running while increasing my walking.  That's totally fine.  I had gotten to where I was walking probably 95% of my walk/runs, totaling 3-7 miles each time.  I would run little bits here and there.  But I noticed on Saturday that I could actually still run a 1/2 mile without stopping! And today I felt so good that I ran over 2 miles!  Granted, I walked nearly a mile first to warm up, then I ran a 1/2 mile, walked a 1/2, and continued that pattern for a total of over 5 miles in 1:18.  But still!  I do the elliptical too on the days I don't walk/run.  And I feel good enough to walk with my family for another mile at night too.  I am happy with any exercise at this point and feel good with what I've been able to keep up.

You may think these activities would help me start labor, but so far they have not.  This baby is hanging out for now.  She's very active and strong, giving me and Rick a big show at night as she changes positions and moves around.  We hope she'll make an appearance in a week or less, and we feel ready for the big day!

Monday, June 2, 2014

35 Weeks Pregnant Update

35 weeks pregnant

"There's nothing wrong with walking, it's just that is takes SOOOO long!"  This is something I've found myself saying almost daily as I head outside.  I am giving myself permission to "give up," and quickly!  Running has become very unpleasant and requires a Herculean effort.  So that leaves walking and the elliptical machine.  Some days are a combination (I will walk 3 miles, then come inside for 2 miles on the elliptical).  Some are just walks with a tiny bit of running.  I can usually work up the stamina for a short burst of running, so I will do a few laps on the track or a game of "run to that mailbox" a few times in the neighborhood while walking the rest of the time.  My doctor has advised me to keep on exercising, stressing that it leads to an easier labor.  So even though it's taking me a lot longer to cover a lot less ground, I will keep it up for the next few weeks!

Cotton Row Run 2014

 Volunteering--Packet Pickup Sunday, May 25, 2014

I volunteered at packet pickup for the Cotton Row Run on Sunday from 3-6 p.m.  If you are looking to volunteer but are worried it may be too hard, let me promise you that this is a great spot to volunteer at.  I usually serve at one of the various pickup tables, so my job is to get the person's name and then find their bib number and get them a T-shirt.  Today, I was assigned to the "T-Shirt Swap" table.  All I had to do was take the shirt that the person didn't want and call back to a "runner" who would get the correct shirt size and hand it to me!  No standing up required (I was given this easier job on purpose by a kind friend)!  I brought along my daughter, and we were treated to free volunteer shirts, free snacks while we served, and THEN a free dinner from Nothing But Noodles!  At 35.5 weeks pregnant, I needed a job that was physically very easy, but this job also proved to be very full of fun free surprises!  An added bonus was getting to catch up with many friends who were also serving or picking up their packets and to encourage new runners.  This position is just a super easy and fun way to give back!

Race Day Monday, May 26

This was not a typical Cotton Row Run race morning for me.  Usually our racing team takes our annual team picture this morning, but today I did not go to that.  I did not have a uniform that fit, so the kids and I slept in and headed over later.  I was fully prepared to pay $5 to park in the very conveniently located parking garage, but when I arrived to pay I saw that is was free to park there!  If you look behind me in the picture below, you can see the garage was practically empty.  Many people parked far away and walked, not knowing of this garage being open and free!  I needed to save my energy for the 5K run.  Rick finished the 10K and had just finished cooling down when he took these pictures.

Running a 5K at 35.5 weeks

My running has slowed and almost stopped since about 34 weeks.  I did have a great run (for me) on Friday, May 23.  I did 3 miles of running (10:57, 8:54, and 8:46) with 1 mile in between consisting of a .5 mile walk and then a .5 mile jog, so the miles of running were separated and not consecutive.  I rested on Saturday, and then on Sunday I only walked since running did not feel good. With running being so spotty lately, I did not know what to expect in the 5K today.  I told Rick I could be anywhere between 30 minutes and an hour. Well, I was able to run 10ish minute miles for a chip time of 30:46.  It was warm (70s--race started at 9 a.m.), and I played it safe.  My legs burn and feel heavy when I run, and the entire effort feels so hard.  

After the 5K, the kids had their 1 mile run to do.  I decided to run/jog it, hoping I could be there for my daughter when she slowed down to walk.  Well, my son finished in 7:45 (approx.--it is not officially timed), and Rick and our daughter were 9:15...and I was 11:30.  I could not keep up with them so I just finished alone.

Thoughts on Cotton Row 2014

It was fun to be able to experience the 5K race today in a very different manner than I usually do.  I enjoyed just being out there and loved the big crowds of runners.  I also loved being able to celebrate Memorial Day with other runners.  There is always a nice presentation before each race to honor the men and women who have fought for our freedoms.  Honestly though, I was a little bummed to miss the team picture and the fun of the 10K (my usual race, and Rick usually runs the 5K).  I also really missed the challenge of running my usual pace.  Running is so much harder now.  I feel so encumbered as I strap on my big sports bra, running belt, and spybelt with cell phone under a huge shirt for each run.  It's not really fun at all anymore.  I don't say any of this to complain---I am happy that I am still able to exercise!!  I am saying this in case someone else has been here or will be here.  I think it's okay to feel all of these things.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Third Trimester Thoughts

I am almost 34 weeks, and things are still going well.  My blood pressure, the baby's heart rate, and my measurements look good.  I am seeing my doctor every two weeks now.  Once the craziness of the end of the year is over, I will go weekly.  What good timing!  

Weight Gain
I am really starting to believe that we really don't have a whole lot of control over this.  I've had 2 months of big weight gain (13 pounds and 7 pounds), but the rest have been pretty small, so that indicates the lack of control I have in this department!  I certainly didn't do anything drastic from month to month.  All in all, I am at 24 pounds total right now. 

Today was the last day of running with my group.  They average around 10 minute miles for 6+ miles.  I attempted a 6 mile run with them last Monday and could not keep up, but a sweet friend stayed back with me at the end.  Today, same thing.  I knew once I started having trouble keeping up, I would have to say good-bye for now.  I'll be back before long!

On my own, I can keep an 11-12 minute mile pace and plan to continue running 4-5 miles 2-3 times a week with the elliptical for the other 3-4 days and with one rest day.  While running, I sometimes feel pressure in my groin, and I back off the pace when this happens.  I have found that the weight belt helps, as does just walking.  My Saturday run turned into a walk with a couple of short runs thrown in.  I listen to my body and know when to back off.

Last Double Digit Run?
My last weekly 10 miler was at 33.5 weeks in 1:46.  It was done with Rick in laps around the neighborhood early Friday morning!  I was a little slow getting going but found a good grove as we chatted and caught up on life.  It was almost like a free date and felt so nice to have time to talk!  He was very sweet to stay with me the whole time at a pace that is much slower than his normal pace.  

I wore compression socks since sometimes my legs feel very full and heavy, and they felt good with the socks on.  The problem I face is in the recovery after these longer runs.  I am very tired the rest of the day and a little achy.  This may have been my last one of these.  Even 6 mile runs are starting to seem too far for me.  

Running Girls' Shower
My group hosted a fun Girls' Night Out and Baby Shower for me back in April.  I love it when we get together and can talk face-to-face instead of side-by-side!  The baby got some great things, a nice balance of "essentials" and also some fun outfits.  We are starting to feel more ready for her arrival each day!  I'm so glad I got to celebrate with these friends.

Good-bye, Old Friend
With an almost 8 year old and 7 year old, the time had come to say good-bye to a big part of my days of early motherhood--the double jogging stroller.  I listed it on an on-line site, and it sold very quickly.  My kids ride bikes, run with me, or can even stay at home as I run laps around the neighborhood now.  We are in a different stage of life (though of course I am keeping my single!).  It didn't make sense to keep this stroller anymore, but it was still hard to see it go.  This stroller represented freedom and the strong will I had to keep running even when it was hard.  I am so glad I made my "comeback" to running with this stroller.  It made me stronger, both mentally and physically.  And I will always believe that our kids do better when they know that we make time for ourselves and our interests too.  My kids spent time in here, yes, but they were enjoying fresh air, having conversations and snacks together, and learning that Mommy matters too.  I hope it will bless the next family as much as it did ours.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Spectating--My Latest "Sport"

I am 31 weeks pregnant tomorrow and still running!  Because I'd started to feel discomfort below my belly when I ran, I opted to buy a pregnancy weight belt.  I tried it out for a 10-miler this past Saturday.  It works great!  I am able to run without really feeling the weight of my stomach.  It is really comfortable too.  I forgot to wear it when I ran today (4 miles), and I could really tell the difference.  I was tempted to run with a hand under my stomach!

Third trimester running and exercising is going well.  My pregnancy has slowed my pace to roughly 10-12 minute miles, and just this past week I dropped from mainly 60 minutes of elliptical or 6 miles of road running a day to 40-50 minutes or 4-5 miles.  An unfortunate side effort of my bigger body has been chaffing in my armpits (of all places!).  The bigger bra and my swollen glands just rub in ways that I do not rub normally.  These are the main changes I've noticed running while pregnant.   Dropping pace and distance, feeling tired and needing weight support for my stomach, and strange chaffing!  I can't complain.

So I haven't entered a race in months.  It's mostly a financial decision.  I can run for free, so why enter a race just to get my run in?  We are trying to save for Baby #3.  It's just been easier to run alone, with Rick and the kids, and with my running group.  I have missed racing, but I will be back.

Not racing has given me opportunities to volunteer and to spectate!  I went to the For Life Ministries 5K on Saturday, March 29 to watch Rick run.  The race was super small (50 finishers), and my kids and I set up the water station (visited twice by runners on the out-and-back course).  It was a drizzly, slightly chilly morning.  We met some nice people also volunteering at the water station with us that day.  I could tell they were new to running when one called the Powerade "juice" (which I quickly corrected, knowing that runners would not understand why juice was offered on the course!).

Pictures were taken by Gregg Gelmis.

Race start

Rick finishes 2nd overall!

After the race, we went back to the start/finish.  There was a one mile race getting started, but since we had not paid I did not intend for us to run.  Then the director of the race said, "Anyone who wants to run the one mile, please come to the start line!"  My kids both really wanted to run.  Rick lined up with my son, and I decided to stay with my daughter.  Nevermind the fact that I was in jeans and a raincoat or that my daughter was in flip-flops and tending to a cup of busy snails!  It led to a first for me--first time running a race pregnant and in jeans!  Surprisingly, we finished around 11 minutes!  Both kids wanted another mile and went back out with Rick.  So my daughter finished 2 miles in flip-flops!  By her picture, you can tell it didn't bother her a bit!

Five Points of Life Kids Marathon was the following weekend on Saturday, April 5.  This event is free for kids to enter, but they have to log 25 miles prior to the event day's 1.2 miles.  My kids participated last year and wanted to again this year.  They love finishing on the baseball field, getting a medal, and having pizza and popsicles afterwards.  

Pictures from Five Points Facebook page

Will I run any more races this pregnancy?  Well, I signed up for the Cotton Row Run 5K, but I'll be almost 36 weeks pregnant then, and heat might be a factor.  I have really learned to enjoy my easier runs and the joy I get as a spectator to my husband and kids as they run.  That's enough for me right now!

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.