“At first an ordeal and then an accomplishment, the daily run becomes a staple, like bread, or wine, a fine marriage, or air. It is also a free pass to friendship.”
~ Benjamin Cheever, Strides

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

May Have Gone a Bit Overboard

So, I went shopping for the baby today, the 2nd shopping trip.

First of all - we've learned that the baby can now hear us outside the womb.  So, my husband - knowing I was going shopping today, told me to "get some books so that I can read to the baby."  First off - how cute is that?  (don't tell him I said that, of course).   Second - WHAT WAS HE THINKING???  To tell me - the book addict - to go to the bookstore and get some books for the baby without placing any kind of limit whatsoever.  HELLO????  Have we not been married 10 years?  Should he not KNOW better by now?  I mean, seriously.

So.  Um.  I may or may not have spent $80 on baby books.  Which is about the same amount I spent on cute little girl outfits.

After the shopping trip - my shopping buddy Lindsey - who knows I'm a runner, and knew from my comments that I wanted little running shoes for the baby....pulls out of her closet a teeny, tiny box of Nikes.

OMG.  How freakin' cute?   Anyone that doesn't think itty bitty sneakers are cute just needs to stop and re-think life.  I'm just saying.

And now, I'm off to try to fit my run into my day.  

Monday, April 18, 2011

Problem Child Already

Close up of her face
20 week ultrasound was this morning.  Trust me to have an uncooperative child.  LOL!  She was quite comfortable in a breech position and made it rather difficult to see all that the doctor wanted to see.  What they did see indicated a healthy baby with a heartbeat of 142 bpm and 11 oz.

The good news???  Because they couldn't measure everything they wanted - I actually get an additional ultrasound in a month!  YAY!   

They think Junior is a girl.  Hahaha.  We're calling her sweet pea now.

Hmmmm...I'm supposed to run 5 miles today - but with all the shopping and looking at little girl things that I want to do, I'm not sure there is enough time in the day...  :D

Sunday, April 17, 2011

No Pain, No Gain

Whoever coined the phrase "no pain, no gain" may have had long distance running in mind.

After my 11 mile jaunt yesterday - I stepped into the shower ready for blissful heat to sooth and relax my muscles...and nearly screamed when the water hit what was a previously unnoticed chafing blister.

Yes - I have a lovely dime-sized rather awful chafing blister on my right....hmm...how to put it - the spot normally covered by my sports bra.  LOL.  I was generous with the Neosporin post shower and again this morning - it looks ugly and mean.  Note to self - better coverage with the bodyglide next time.

I also had the joy of popping a blister on my middle right toe that appeared before I got the rock out of my shoe.   More Neosporin and a band aid.  Good thing I used the extra bit in my medical savings account for Neosporin last year!  LOL

My feet also felt like they had bruises on them when I first got up....but that will not stop me from going to Costco and making use of our latest coupons.

Anywhoodle - I just had to put that in my blog somewhere for Sarah - in less than 24 hours, so long as the baby doesn't do anything stupid like CROSS HIS/HER legs during the ultrasound, I should find out if the baby is a boy or a girl tomorrow morning.  YAY!

Any guesses before the truth is known?

I will say - I had a dream about the baby being a girl.  My husband thinks the baby is a boy.  Of course - we just want a healthy baby - boy or girl doesn't matter.

Although - I can't wait to buy him or her some cute little running shoes.

Oh yes -I asked the husband what my spending limit is for tomorrow - it is already a given that once I know boy/girl I WILL be buying a few things tomorrow.   That's just the way it is.  :D

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Change in Training

I was so excited to begin training for Cap City with MIT in December 2010.  It couldn't start soon enough.  So, Mark and I ran the Flying Feather 4 miler on Thanksgiving as a warm up.

I was speedy (for me) at that race - finishing in 45:15 for an average pace of 11:19 minute/mile!  I couldn't wait to get training with MIT and improve my pace over longer distances!

So much so - that I was impatient with my original pace group's slower-than-advertised start and sprinted to catch the slightly faster pace group.  BIG MISTAKE.  I was out of practice from my little hiatus, and ran out of steam before I could catch the 11:30 group.  One of the coaches was nice enough to run back and finish that first 2 mile run with me.  

That was my last run before the Christmas holidays and we left for Texas the next week.

Full Stop.  Back up.  I forgot to explain one crucial fact.  My husband and I had finally decided - that after almost 10 years of marriage - it was time for children.  We started trying to get pregnant that December.

I had one last strength training workout before heading to Texas and family.  I almost threw up more than once during the workout.  Something that had never happened to me.  I was so sure that I was pregnant - that I told my trainer I was pregnant before I even left for Texas, and over a week before I could even take a home pregnancy test.

The weather in Texas in December is so much better than the weather in Ohio in December - for running at least.  So, we tried to get a few runs in while in Texas.  Again - I kept getting nauseous whenever I pushed too hard.  My husband thought I was crazy - and I didn't tell him I already tried to take an early pregnancy test and that the negative result didn't phase me because I took it so early.

December 23rd found us at my in-laws preparing for the big family gathering on the 25th.  I was nauseous all day - and talked my mother-in-law into getting me some ginger ale at the store and some saltines.  By now, Mark was giving me looks.  I was so nauseous that day -that I took another test....and saw a faint blue line.  I told my husband we were pregnant.  He asked if I was sure - it was so faint.  I politely informed him "Mark, you can't be sort of pregnant." 

To make him happy - and because I still had another test - I took another test on the morning of the 25th.  Clear blue line.  Pregnant.  Because our family lives so far away, we decided to tell them while we were still in Texas and could tell them in person.

And then the question came - Are you going to keep running?

Honestly - I don't think I'd ever considered NOT running until someone asked.  I'd previously had a pre-conception appointment with my doctor and asked if I could keep running and was told "sure, no problem".  Of course, I don't think it was clear how many miles I wanted to run.  LOL.

Long story short - I made an appt with my doctor for when we got back.  Had an absolutely HORRIBLE experience with her nurse.  Called my friends with children for doctor recommendations and fired her immediately.  Scheduled a new appt with the new doctor....and went to my first pregnant run with MIT in 2011.

We'd registered to run the First on the First 5K since a lot of MIT people were doing it.   The weather that day was cold after Texas - and I was nauseous again, so we didn't go.   I was excited for the first big meeting/run with MIT in January as a result.

MIT Winter Group
First thing I did when I arrived - change my pace group!  I was so nervous about trying to run while pregnant.  Running is such a mental game - and it was already getting in my head!

I will never forget meeting Duane, one of my pace coaches that first morning, and promptly telling him I was pregnant.   I'm sure not many coaches get that kind of an announcement first thing!

My Awesome Pace Group

Those first few weeks with the MIT Lucky 13's and running pregnant were relatively easy.   My body hadn't changed much yet - and I found 2, 4, 5 miles weren't that difficult at all.  I was thrilled.

Then I met with the new obstetrician.  I told him I was a runner and running, and while he applauded exercise, his idea of running while pregnant was 2 or 3 miles maximum.  I was devastated.  I promptly posted in Daily Mile about whether or not I should still run Cap City.  One thing was clear - I wasn't going to get a medical okay to run the whole thing and would have to walk parts of it at least.

To be honest - in hindsight - I wish I hadn't let it get into my head.  Shortly after his statement - we had a 6 mile run with MIT that went very badly for me - I struggled the entire run and even had to do some walking.   As most of us know - EVERYONE has bad runs from time to time.  Instead of acknowledging that and continuing with training as usual....I took it as a sign that I shouldn't be running that much while pregnant.  SIGH.

I decided that I was going to have to walk part of Cap City in order to finish and not risk me or the baby.  Once I crossed that mental line - motivation flooded out of me in droves.  I began to miss the occasional mid-week run.  I began to struggle in the ones I didn't skip.

Then the day of the shin splint attacks.  It was actually warm out - I was so excited to get out and run - and took off without watching my pace.  About 0.6 miles out - I was in so much pain from shin splints (which I hadn't suffered since I first started running) that I was in tears.  I turned around and pitied myself the whole way home.   I posted a pitiful run on Dailymile - and was sure I was done running.   I did suck it up and take the dog with me for a 2 mile walk to get SOME miles in.

The support I got from my DM and MIT buddies after that post is something you think only happens in movies.   It encouraged me to go to Fleet Feet and look into replacing my well broken in favorite running shoes.  At Fleet Feet, I made the startling discovery, that not just my belly and more were going to change with pregnancy.  My feet had grown a size...and my arches were collapsing.  I walked out of Fleet Feet with new shoes and inserts and new excitement that I could still run.

The next run - I still struggled a bit with shin splints - although they didn't appear quite as soon. I did more reading on shin splints and realized - they needed time off.  I'd intended to take a week off and start again.  Of course - that's when My husband and my 10th anniversary trip to Maui started.  

We both packed 5 running outfits to run in while we were in Maui.  What did we do instead?  Ate breakfast and watched the other fit people running on their vacations.  We'd comment - "Wow, she's really flying," and insisted we'd run the next day.   Nausea on my part or something else always seemed to interfere.

When we got back - I did jump out on a run after a 3 week hiatus and did well.  For the first time since running pregnant I wasn't nauseous on a run and finished with a great pace!   I think that was the last good pace run for me though.

I continued to struggle with getting in my runs.  I found that I was even more sensitive to the cold - or more inclined to whine about it and use it as an excuse.  As a result - the runs I did do, weren't fast enough for me and the mental road blocks began to appear everywhere.   I was usually at the back of the pack in my run groups - and finished a lot of them by myself a few minutes after everyone else.

I finally admitted - with being pregnant - and with the poor training practices that had resulted - and my doctor's complaints - I was going to have to walk a decent portion of Cap City.  With that renewed realization, all motivation failed me.   Getting my mid-week runs in became the anomaly rather than the norm.  

I am now beginning to look pregnant as well, rather than just a bit chubby...and running clothes are becoming a problem.  I finally found one pair of maternity shorts online and ordered them.  However - when I run - I wear them inside out.  What idiot decides to put a giant tag on the inside thigh of running shorts?????  Even with it cut out - not comfortable.  So I'm unusual and wear my pants inside out.

With new pants and new motivation attempting to creep in...I signed up for the Dam Fool 5 miler because a bunch of my pace group was doing it.

I finished SLOW.  I walked 2.5-3 of the 5 miles...many of those with another MIter Jaime.  I had fun talking with her and pacing with her - until I looked at my garmin and thought - my husband's already done with the race.  I passed the last water station.  The nice volunteer told me - because he could see I was struggling and slow - "the hard part is over."  I jokingly responded, "I'm over 4 months pregnant - the whole thing is hard."

Turns out - I was slow enough that my husband got concerned.  The medical staff of the race asked him if he was waiting for someone - and he admitted that he was waiting for his wife and she was over 4 months pregnant and he was worried he hadn't seen me.  They called the balloon girls at the back of the race to see if I'd fallen along the way.

Mark and I before the race

The MIT Gang post race

Nope!  I finished.  Didn't anyone tell Mark that slow is the new fast?  LOL!  I wasn't even last.  I finished in 1:22:04 for an average pace of over a 16 min/mile. I decided though - that I'd finished first in the pregnant runners division and that I was going to suck it up and be better at my training.

The next week???  I ran one of my mid-week runs.  I did 2 miles of intervals.  I'm finding - now that the baby is showing - I am exhausted the day after any sort of physical exertion.  So, back-to-back runs will not happen often.  Still, I know I can do better than ONE mid week run.

Today?  I ran/walked 11 miles!  I never would have done it as fast as I did without a good MIT buddy Sara who kept me company.  THANK YOU SARA!  One of my favorite comments of the morning though?  When Wendy, who hadn't seen me in a couple weeks - said "Mandy, where did that baby come from?"  HAHAHA!  

The bottom line - can you run while pregnant?  ABSOLUTELY!  Different things will be sore after runs then pre-pregnancy though.  I'm just saying.  
Also - what to run in will become a challenge.  Surprisingly - there aren't that many maternity running options.  Imagine that.  Hahaha.

Ok - now that y'all had to suffer to bring everyone up to date - I will try to be more regular with my postings.

How this whole running thing started for me

Time to start this all off with a LONG initial post to explain where this all started.
Me posing during that fateful skiing trip that derailed my first scheduled half marathon.

About a year and a half ago, I decided to start running.  How did I choose to start?  By self-training for a half-marathon.  Why did I start there of all places?   My mom ran the Houston Marathon shortly before my decision.  I thought - surely, if she can run a full marathon - I can do a half.  Right?  Right?

I will never forget the beginning - where 0.2 miles was all I could do before I had to walk to catch my breath.  Amazing thinking back on how hard those first attempts were.

The first half marathon I registered for was the Cap City Half Marathon in Columbus Ohio in May of 2010.   Things were going okay - despite a grueling schedule for my chemistry degree, I was still getting most of my runs in.  Then I went on a skiing vacation in March of 2010.  On the last run of the last day....I fell.   While it hurt, I thought it was just a bruise and insisted on skiing another run so that I didn't end on a fall.  I'm somewhat notorious for doing that when an injury is more serious than I realize.

After about a week back home in Ohio and struggling to try to run and breathe at the same time....  My ribs STILL hurt as much as they did post-fall, and I called the doctor.  Turns out I'd cracked 3 ribs in my fall - and was told no more running until they healed.  I was very disappointed, but since even laughing hurt at that point - I didn't even argue.

My husband and my Dad still ran that race without me.  I'm embarrassed to admit - my mom and I didn't even cheer them on - it was raining darn it!  LOL.

Once I healed - I was determined to try again.  This time - I registered for the Columbus Half Marathon in October 2010.  I found a training schedule on the internet and stuck to it.  My husband was going to run it too. 

We also registered for the newly created Emerald City Quarter Marathon part way through the training as a warm up for Columbus.  We had a lot of fun at this race - even though I had to walk a bit in the last mile.  I finished the Quarter at 1:20:17 for an average pace of 12:21 minutes/mile.  Not bad for hardly being able to run 0.2 miles when I started!
The gang at the Emerald City Finish line

Shortly after Emerald City - Mark got the dreaded plantar faciitis.  His foot would just ache after runs.  After pushing through for a bit - he realized he needed to go on injured reserve and would not run the race with me.  I used that as an excuse to skip about a run a week - and a couple of my long runs!  The longest run on my schedule before the half was a 9 mile run - and I did complete it - but it was tough.  As the Columbus Half drew near - the week before to be exact - I began to panic as to whether or not I could finish.  All my friends knew I was running it!  How would I explain it if I didn't finish?  Not only that - I was crazy and signed up for the tweet my time thingee - they'd even have race day updates about how slow I was going!

Race day for the Columbus Marathon started with absolutely perfect running weather.  When we got downtown, my husband was saying how glad he was that he hadn't brought his bib - or he'd have run the race, injury or not.  The huge crowd of runners was electrifying!  Somehow I wound up at the very back of the very last corral for the start.   I will never forget dodging all the discarded clothing at the start line!  I'd utilized Mark's backpack to discard my warmer clothing.  :)

One thing I'd vastly underestimated in my training - was the amount of energy it would take to run AROUND people.  Since I started at the back, I had to run around all the walkers - some of whom would walk in great big packs spread across the road.  I also was able to pass some runners - maybe I'm not so bad after all!

The other thing I neglected in my training - HILLS.  My neighborhood is relatively flat.  I assumed that meant Columbus is relatively flat - which for the most part - is true.   BUT, there were some "mild" hills in the race.  And the worst one for me hit when I was already tired - mile 11.  I still remember thinking - "Who decided to put a hill at the END of the race."  LOL.   I had been on a steady 12 minute pace to finish, but had to walk part of mile 11.   The finish line was also on a slight uphill.  The one time I really got passed in the race was in those last 100 yards - other people were sprinting to the finish - I had nothing left to give...and kept plodding along at my 12 min pace.
BUT - I finished within my time goal.  My final time at the Columbus Half was 2:43:33.   This was about a 12:30 min/mile average pace.  My original time goal had been 3 hours - and after Emerald City - I'd secretly hoped to finish under 2:45.  SUCCESS!   I will never forget how HUNGRY I was after this race.  I did not take enough at the post race food stations...and made my husband stop at Panera Bread on the way home - BEST SANDWICH EVER!

At the end of the day though - I couldn't have gone another mile.  I had, however, reached my goal of successfully completing a half marathon in under 3 hours.  Now - I wanted to try to get it to 2:30!   Before the month was out, I signed up for the Cap City Half Marathon - and to run with MIT.  I decided, I had to do the training better this time around.