Friday, April 18, 2014

Tired.

Ok, I have a confession. Running 50 mpw midway through your second trimester while putting in 45-50 hr work weeks will really knock you on your butt....epecially if you have to be in single parent mode most of the week (my husband has a ridiculous travel schedule until June). Then, race run a half-marathon in the middle of all that, see what happens.

Oh my gosh, tired. Exhausted. Falling asleep at 6:30pm. My daughter just had to tell me to go to bed....and she's three. It's Wednesday. The race was Saturday.

I took a day off Thursday. Never mind that I only ran 20 minutes the day before and after the half. I didn't push it during the half. I shouldn't be this tired. Maybe I'm anemic.

.....maybe I'm just pregnant.

Not only am I larger, slower, hungrier, and more tired, I also don't recover very fast. Long bouts of physical activity takes a lot out of me, sometimes days go by before I feel like my normal self again. Having a baby is such an adventure. I feel like I am in control of nothing.

17 more weeks until baby #2.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Pilgrimage half-marathon at 5 months pregnant


Columbus Pilgrimage Half: 1:36:57, 4th female overall (1st AG)
(Officially 1:37 something, had to stop to pee) 7:24 pace

Running a half-marathon while pregnant was a bucket list item I never had the chance to cross off with Maddy. I was sick, lightheaded and short of breath the whole time with my first, making running much more difficult. Even though I ran the whole way through with my first, my runs were shorter and slower and I pretty much started from square one post-partum. I really want this time to be different.

My first trimester with baby #2 I really suffered. Once I hit 6 weeks I was sick round the clock. It was a battle to finish most runs, not only because I felt so terrible, but also because I lacked motivation. I found that most runs done solo were usually cut short or slower than normal. As a result, I did everything I could to run with my friends.

For the first 15 weeks I made it through morning runs by stuffing a handful of jolly rancher candies in my pocket. As soon as I finished one, I would stuff another in my mouth. For some reason the sugar kept the nausea at bay, and by week 16 I was able to stomach half a copy of coffee and a few rice cakes before setting out for a morning run. As of today, 5 months into my pregnancy, I am still running 50 mpw with my regular running group AND still getting in one workout a week at about 20 seconds per mile slower than my marathon PR pace. Nothing crazy but enough to make the regular runs feel relaxed.

So a few weeks ago I decided to run a half-marathon. I had been running about 11.5-12 miles at least once a week at about a 7:20-7:35 pace. Being that there was a half-marathon 25 minutes from my house, I really couldn't pass it up. I got online a registered.

My husband was a little hesitant, not that I might get the urge to "race" but that he though I might be ridiculed because of it. Being a pregnant women in Mississippi I am often told that I should be "taking it easy" when in reality, I should be doing everything I can to remain healthy and active. I shrugged off his concerns and went anyway. Running while pregnant was nothing new to me....only this time I will be wearing at race number across my swelling stomach.

I rode to Columbus with two former teammates,  who ironically ended up winning both races. I did about a mile warmup beforehand, trying my best to avoid busy streets and awkward glares from other runners. Once the race started, things were pretty smooth, and I felt great throughout. Most of the runners I passed didn't know I was pregnant and most of the spectators didn't have enough time to tell anyway.

I was worried that it would have a hard resisting the urge to race, however I found that I was pretty content just running the 7:20ish effort I had planned for in the beginning. I stayed about the same pace throughout which told me my effort was probably spot on.

I'm proud of myself for getting it in. It's hard being a athlete on the sidelines, but pregnancy is a hard physical journey in its self. I'm hoping to stay in shape for multiple reasons, one including a relatively smooth labor and delivery. With Maddy I pushed so long that I nearly cracked my tail bone and couldn't sit properly for months. Hoping the second time around is a bit of an improvement. However, I'm just praying for a healthy new addition above all else. Physical activity and healthy eating will surely help.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Halfway there

This week I reached the halfway point in my pregnancy. It was a bit overwhelming, with two children my family will officially be complete (we think) and the next chapter of our life will officially start. I will get to hold a new baby in my arms and go through all the same stages I did with Maddy. All that still feels like yesterday, even though Maddy is now 3 1/2 years old. Having children really makes you realize just how fast time goes by.

This pregnancy was much different than the last. Sure, I was blessed with the same 24/7 sickness that I felt with my first pregnancy for 17 or so weeks. Then once I hit week 15, things took another unpleasant twist and I started experiencing uncontrollably hunger. I have never in my life felt something so horrible, every other hour I was sick to my stomach with hunger, nearly keeping an entire drawer in my office full of snacks just so I could make it through the work day.

Though I have stayed pretty consistent with my running throughout, in a period of four weeks I gained almost 8 pounds. I felt out of control. Normally, I try to gain every ounce of the weight recommended by my doctor, but I've never had a problem of gaining too much. I was over eating because I was hungry all the time and I knew it, my doctor new it.

I started making better choices. I eliminated most of the junk and started snacking on large amounts of fruit. I brought an apple, grapefruit and orange with me everyday and when I started to get sick with hunger, I would start eating the fruit. Eventually my weight stabilized and my hunger subsided. I started feeling better.

It was during this time that I had a "moment" with Maddy that changed my entire outlook on my pregnant body. I was standing in the bedroom one morning half dressed, my belly completely exposed. I was frustrated because nothing was fitting the way I wanted and I couldn't find anything to wear to work.
Maddy was standing there watching my every move. Finally, after a few minutes of silence she jumped over to me and wrapped her arms around my expanding waist and said, "Mommy, I can't WAIT to be a grown up like you so my belly and boobies and get big just like yours!" At three years old, she is nothing but brutally honest and completely innocent. I nearly teared up by the comment...it made me laugh and it made me cry. How could I stand here and HATE the way I looked when my daughter was standing there admiring me and idolizing me and my new body? She was fascinated by how quickly my body was changing.

And then I started to wonder...how can I continue to make her feel that way?

I spent the first two years of my college career struggling with body image, I logged my daily intake and limited the number of calories I ate. I believed that all the successful female college runners did this way, and now I believe it all came down to a lack of self confidence and loads of insecurities. Eventually my perceptions changed, but still, I don't want my daughter to ever go through what I did. I never want her to feel insecure about her looks, body, or her abilities. I am not sure if I can even control these things but my actions and comments about my own looks, body, etc. must not feed her insecurities. I need to ensure that I am a good example for my children.
....
In other news, we recently discovered that we are having a boy! I sure hope he likes purple because that is what Maddy said we MUST paint his room. I'm not sure I can bribe her with ice cream to change her mind on this one!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Greatest Women's Running Blog

So the wonderful ladies at Saltyrunning.com have included me in a competition called, "The Greatest Women's Running Blog." It's set up like the NCAA tournament and I need votes to win. 

Honestly, I haven't been blogging due to pregnancy sickness, and my effort was truly lacking for part of last year, but if you have at one time enjoyed my blog and would like to take a minute to vote me..here is the post: http://www.saltyrunning.com/2014/03/26/greatest-womens-running-blog-green-division-round-one/

Thank you!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Running for two

Most know now that Houston and I are expecting our second child in August this year. I am started to look and feel very pregnant, my belly is about twice as big as it was with my first child and I am running short on wearable clothing. I have continued to run, and now that I am in the neighborhood of 15-16 weeks I'm still logging somewhere around 50 miles per week. I don't have the desire or motivation to run much more than that.

As excited as I am to have another child, I really do not enjoy being pregnant. Pregnancy is different for everyone, and I for one get extremely sick. I spent the first semester sick from the moment I woke up until the moment I went to bed at night, only getting relief when I slept. I've stopped throwing up, but I am still gagging up over the smallest things, like someone using the microwave to heat up a sandwich or the smell of a local restaurant I happened to run by...in the morning...at 5:30am....when it wasn't even OPEN. And while some ladies stay virtually symptom free, I am told I am one of the lucky ones because the constant feeling of throw up in the back of my throat means I am having a healthy pregnancy.

Though my appetite is uncontrollable at times, and I can't even function on an almost empty stomach, I am glad and excited for the changes that will soon take place. Every week my stomach grows a little bit more and I start to feel a little bit better. As much as I cannot wait for August to arrive, I am enjoying the mental break from serious training and the Maddy and Mommy time before we welcome the new addition.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

World's latest/worst race recap

(I started writing this in November, added a little in December, and finally finished it in January. It's really not very good, so for anyone that wants to give up 5 minutes of their life reading it, here you go.)

Results: 3rd female (see previous post)

I want to start by saying that we did not go to Hawaii simply to run. Actually, it originally started as a family vacation, and the XTERRA Trail World Champs race happened to be the same weekend. Eventually, nearly everyone on the trip (with the exception of my sister's husband and the kids) ended up running one of the race distances, from the 5k to the half-marathon. Since I had planned all year to run a fall marathon, I originally toyed with the idea of running the 10K with my Dad. However, after Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, my legs seemed to come back pretty quickly, and I figured I could still keep the race honest, and give it a good effort even with only being three weeks removed from the marathon.

I did exactly one workout and one long run (over 13) to prepare for this race. This was intentional so that I could be as fresh and recovered as possible. By the time Sunday arrived I was ready for the effort (so I though) and, ready to get the race out of the way so I could enjoy the rest of the vacation.

The Race
I felt no stress the night before, and in an entire year with over 15 races, I finally slept through the night with no trouble at all. Because Houston and I were both running, that morning we both had to warm-up and watch Maddy until my family arrived at the site. Therefore, I had a terrible race warm-up, but being that it was nearly 75 degrees at start time, I didn't worry to much about it. I figured I would use the opening miles to get into the grove.

Unlike previous trail races there was no wave start, so when the gun went off it was a little bit chaotic. I recognized Lucy Smith right away and followed her lead. Not only was she last year's winner, but she only finished a few seconds in front of me at National Cross last fall. I was confident I could stay with her.

(((Anyone reading this that saw pictures or results will probably notice that Houston finished one second behind me. Yes, we ran the race together, something that couples sometimes do. He didn't pace me or coach me through it, instead he simply wanted to run with me having never ran a trail race. He registered for the race just like everyone else.)))
What we really went to Hawaii for? Vacation! Me and my little pumpkin walking near the North shore of Oahu

Start-6k
The race felt slow after the first kilometer, and before I knew it, I was leading. For a few miles I thought I had it, my legs felt fabulous and the hills were no match for them. I could hear Houston breathing down my neck, and thought for a few seconds, "maybe this is too fast and I should slow down." Eventually, we hit about the 5k mark and I realized, I did in fact go out to hard. I started to feel the marathon in my legs and my breathing labored. It was about to be a very long day.

6k-15k
I was passed by the girl that would eventually win the race at about 6k. I was devastated but I knew I had to slow down if I wanted to stay within the top three. This was about to be the longest (and hottest) trail race I had ever ran, and I wanted it to be as enjoyable as possible. By 11k the winner had already put 45 seconds on me. I was fading fast and my attitude was horrible. Just before 11k Houston and I were running up hill on a wide ATV path, my legs were aching badly and I was having a pity party. I barked out, "this sucks!" Houston said nothing and continued to run beside me. Finally we hit the single track trail and my mood improved. I realized that we were over half way there.

The big climb
At about 9ish miles there is a mile long climb that we were warned about. Having ran Mt. Cranmore I really wasn't worried about it, but I (once again) misjudged the fatigue in my legs and I hiked a good portion of it, much more than I had really wanted to. I cursed most of the way up, and was passed once again, this time by Lucy. There was no stopping her, she put about 2 minutes on me in the last 3 miles. I was now running scared in third.
We played on the beach every morning for an entire week. 

10+ to the finish
I was angry with myself for going out too fast and getting past by two ladies along the way. This was a novice move and one I haven't made since early this Spring. I knew that if I wanted to finish third I was going to have to dig deep. The lady in fourth was coming off a strong year on the track and if she could tell I was slowing down it would be all over. I started to really turn it over on the downhill, dropping Houston a few times. Every time we came to an uphill section I would still slow to the speed of snail, but my downhills were excellent. I was giving it my all on the downs.

From 10 miles until 13.1 miles I raced as hard as I could, I didn't feel confident I would finish third until the last 200m. I crossed the line happy and relieved. This crazy year of running and racing was finally over.

We spend the next few hours talking with some of the American folks we met at World Mountain Champs that had also flew to Hawaii for the race. We waited around for awards and then called it a morning. 

We spent the rest of the day playing on the beach in front of our beach house in Kailua, eventually taking a break for an ice cream cone at the convenient store about a mile from our rental. We stuffed ourselves with fresh fruit, got plenty sun burn, and eventually forgot about or running adventures that morning at Kualoa ranch.

It was, the picture perfect vacation. Sun, beach, sand, and end to my 2013 running season, one without a single PR, but with a mountain of awesome running experiences - a few medals stuffed in a drawer, a singlet with my countries name on it....here's to exciting new changes in 2014.



Tuesday, November 26, 2013

XTERRA Trail World Championships Results

XTERRA Trail World Championships: 3rd female overall in 1:40:26
(13.1m)

Went out to fast and died in the middle pretty bad, but all in all I really can't complain with a 3rd place finish. Recap coming soon. For now, it's back to the beach.
Trail

Podium


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Indianapolis Monumental Marathon Recap

Indianapolis Monumental Marathon: 2:49:28 for 26.27 miles (6:27 avg) 9th female
(just 22 seconds off my PR!)

Though I didn't run a personal best, I have nothing but positive thoughts after this race. Sure I have had some major success this year off the road, but I haven't posted a single respectable time on the boards since May of 2012. It is was getting old.

2013 I spent half the year battle bad S.I. issues and cramping in my hips, and I made the decision not to go back to therapy, so things got worse before they got better (update, I've actually had some major success with one of the those injury-be-gone balls, and the thing only cost me 20 bucks at Stinky Feet). My self rehab has saved me a couple thousand dollars in physical therapy bills, and I do it religiously every day.

I was also more than a little worried about my fitness going into this race. I had a shocking V02 max workout with the women's team just a week and a half before the race, but as you know that doesn't always equal a fast marathon. I also missed over two weeks of training during the most important weeks with a knee injury, which mean I missed out on my marathon simulator run AND a confidence boosting half marathon at Jazz (a 1:26 half didn't quite give me confidence).

I did everything I could the week before to ensure myself success. I carb loaded (depleted for 3 days, loaded for 3 days) I rested, I drank proper fluids and I barely ran. I also made new goals, instead of  trying to  run a personal best I told myself that I would try to run a respectable time.

The Race

The race crew at Monumental really took care of me. They provided most of their elites with a free hotel room next to the start line, black care service to/from the airport, a free meal the night before, and elite start line access, and elite water stations so we could put out our own bottles.
I met some of the elite ladies the night before during the elite meeting and the pasta dinner. Probably staying for the pasta dinner was the most important choice I made all weekend, because it was there I met Ellie Peterson, who was coming  of a 2:53 at altitude. We finally talked about race goals and she told me she wanted to run around 2:50, so we decided to run together. I would be very pleased with a 2:50 finish.

I felt good all day on Friday, but I slept only 4 hours the night before. I took twice the sleep  medication as normal and still couldn't fall asleep before 1:30pm. Surprisingly, when my alarm went off at 5:50am I felt refreshed. I ate bread from the hotel restaurant (which they graciously offered to me free of charge) with almond butter, a power bar, and some Gatorade. This is the first time I have ever went through a proper carb load for a marathon, which means I felt as if I gained 5 pounds three days before this race. However, during the entire 26.2 miles, My legs never felt heavy or fatigued so I think I hit the nail right on the head.

Start
Ellie and I went out easy for the first few miles, until I spotted Jackie about 10 seconds up at mile two. I knew Jackie from when she destroyed beat me at Rocket City last year, so I knew that if we kept her in our sites that we would probably run a good time. By 2.5 miles we caught her back and began comparing race goals. We all agreed to stick together.

Lucie Mays-Sulewski joined us just a few minutes later. Literally running a marathon just 4 weeks  before this one, she still did most of the pace setting for the remaining 23 miles. She was an instant friend and a Brooks ID. I let her take control and tried to stay calm and focused.
Our awesome pack early in the race
Things were smooth sailing until about 6 miles when My hip started to lock up. I grabbed my fluid bottle fairly easy at 10k and just tried to ignore it. It was frustrating and mentally draining, but I did my best to maintain pace at the back of the pack while taking large sips of fluid. By 12 miles, things started to loosen up again and I contemplated making a big push around the halfway point.

My Brooks Uniform


At 20k I grabbed my next fluid bottle and decided I didn't feel good enough to pick up the pace,  instead Lucie led the group once again and I did my best to ignore the mile markers. The ladies continued to talk to each other and offer words of encouragement. We split half-way in about 1:24:37.

So happy when this race was over and I felt amazing. Plus, I didn't take many pictures.
The race felt effortless. From 13-20 miles we floated along without much trouble. I grabbed my last
fluid bottle at around mile 19 and started to think that maybe I was going to make it. I still felt really good until about mile 22.

At 23 miles Jackie broke away from the group and everyone spread out. I couldn't bring myself to race. I had just ran over 20 miles with these ladies and I couldn't find any desire to race them. I continued to move forward, but I couldn't find another gear.
Restoring my glycogen post-race

I let the wheels fall off around mile 24, scared to run a good time or never really believing I could run a 2:49 and it would feel this easy. Eventually around 25.5 I snapped out of it and attempted to close the gap between Ellie and I. I finished in 2:49:28 and felt amazing. I wasn't overly tired or fatigued, part of me felt like it was more of a tempo effort. I immediately thought about training for a spring marathon.

Because I booked my flight early in the afternoon, after briefly talking with my new friends about our adventures, I made my way upstairs to my hotel room, showered, grabbed some coffee, and jumped into a black car to the airport. 

A 2:49 finish stamped my ticket back to the roads. I feel like I finally got me "grove" back. I've still got the hip problem, but I can manage it. And, it looks as if my season is not over just yet.