Wednesday, May 28, 2014

How to Almost Qualify for Boston

This past Sunday was the Vermont City Marathon.  I am very pleased to start this report by saying I dropped 10 minutes off my personal best.  A time I had been stuck at for 3 straight marathons despite trying different training methods, different eating habits, etc.

I am a little less pleased to report that I missed qualifying for Boston by 28 seconds.  And no, I'm not upset, because honestly, I never thought I could be close this year, I barely even looked at my watch.

However, I guess what was missing from my training was the jogging stroller because that is all I changed.  My training this cycle was focused around my son.  My 22 month old running partner that loves running and racing almost as much as I do is most definitely the reason I was able to improve my time.

I never took much time off of running to have Gregory.  I ran right up until 2 days before he was born and returned to running the minute I was told I could (at 5 weeks and 6 days).  I slowly built up my mileage but never had a real goal race in mind.  Eventually each weekend I was running at least a 15 miler and sometimes up  to 20.  I decided that it was time to sign up for a marathon again.

Vermont City is my favorite marathon.  I went to school in Burlington and fell in love with running while I was there.  Most of the race takes place on my old stomping grounds.  We still have friends in the area and Burlington just rocks.  I knew Vermont City was where I wanted to make a marathon comeback.  However, I really didn't care about time.  Every long run was with Gregory (he made it up to 22 miles) and I only used my watch to calculate distance. He's the boss on our runs.  He says "dis way" and we go dat way.  He wants to stop at the "animal park" and usually we stop at the animal park. And don't worry, if he's not in the mood for a run, he either stays with my mom (or husband, but he's usually at work) or we don't go.  Some runs he'll do half and then I'll finish the other half without him.  Usually though, if we make sure to stop to watch or follow some trucks and make a pit stop to blow bubbles and play in the sand and he's thrilled to be outside running.  So what I'm getting at, is that though I put the miles in this cycle, I really didn't work on speed, intervals, tempo runs, or track work.  I ran to share it with my son and to keep us both outside through a crummy winter.  I didn't track my splits or worry about my pace.  And yet, I dropped 10 minutes and ran a 3:35.28 marathon.  When the BAA changed it's standards from 3:40 to 3:35, my heart sank.  I thought 3:3? would be out of my reach and yet...all it took was pushing a jogging stroller.

My overall training looked something like this: 12 weeks, 480.6 miles, 393.1 pushing Gregory

I think the biggest advantage was endurance.  Every marathon I've done in the past, the pace for my last 6 miles fell dramatically.  This time, I negative split it -- again, something I never thought I could do!

Next up?  Well now I have to see if I really can qualify for Boston, so I've got my eye on Hartford for the fall.  I don't know how having the pressure of being so close will effect me, but I do know that I'm in for a fun summer of long runs, park pit stops, and singing "Ba Ba Black sheep" down the bike path with my favorite running partner.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Long Overdue Update

Well,  it's been over 14 months since I last posted.  Since then Gregory was born, enriched our lives, became a person, turned a year, and continues to amaze us and fill every moment with joy.  (trying not to sound cliche here)  I'm not sure why I stopped posting (running is still happening and I have so much to share about Gregory).  I guess when he was born, every moment became sacred and special.  I just didn't want to commit to blogging (not that I was ever very committed).  However, now he's taking a nap, I've got diapers in the laundry, and don't really want to do any housework.  So I'll see how much I can update you with before naptime is over (or I decide I need to get some chores done).

Gregory Lee was born on July 14, 2012.  I had a fairly long labor (38 hours), but everything went very smoothly.  He was perfect from the get go and was born happy.  The nurses had to make him cry, because really he was content to be here the minute he arrived.  For the most part, he has stayed that happy!

He was 7lbs 10 oz and 19.5 inches

Fast forward to now... and he's 20lbs 2 oz and 28.5 inches!


He really is great!  We're still working on things like sleeping through the night and eating solid foods!  I think he might have wanted to continue nursing until he was 4, but we've gotten him down to 3 sessions a day. Once when he wakes up, once around 3:30 and then once before bed.  The doctor wanted us to get him down to the three because he was eating so little food.  He's still a very picky eater, but it's started to improve some. 


He is super close to walking.  He's taken about 5 steps, but just gets himself too nervous.  However, the fact that he isn't walking doesn't mean he's sitting around much either.  He's always on the go.  He has some toys that interest him, but he'd much rather spend his time going to different rooms, opening cabinets, climbing stairs, etc.  The only time he sits still is for a story or in the stroller for a run!




He doesn't have any real words yet, but says "I love you," in the right context in a way that only my mom, husband and I can decipher.  He does do sign language and has the following signs: More, All done, Yes, Up, Cracker, Milk (which I taught him wrong so I don't think it would actually pass ASL), wind, rain, wash hands, soap, (I think that's it).  He gives these awesome kisses that melt my heart every time.  He likes to make sure you're even, so he'll turn your head to the other side after he kisses one cheek.  


He loves busses and the garbage truck.  He loves to point out stop signs, trees, mailboxes, dogs, and bikes when we run.  
As for running, I'm still running often, but shorter.  My longest run with Gregory has been a half marathon (on my own).  We finished just under 2 hours.  I'm thinking of running a real one with him next weekend.  


There's obviously so much more I could say about him, but I'll leave it up to you guys.  Ask away and I'll post again to answer questions.  In the meantime I'll put a few more of my favorite pics!  




Thursday, May 3, 2012

28 weeks (and 13.1 miles) later

 The night before the Cheshire Half, I packed up my bag like any other race.  I was so surprised to be as nervous as I was because I wasn't really racing this; I didn't care about my time; and for the first time in a long time, I just wanted to finish.  Even finishing wasn't something I was all that worried about because I'd run the 13 mile distance 5 times during my pregnancy.  However, I think that there is just no beating the pre-race jitters!

Race morning I woke up at around 6:30.  So crazy to have a race literally 5 minutes down the road (with traffic).  I had my typical toast with almond butter and an apple and hit the bathroom the typical 18 million times.  Eric dropped me off at the start of the race and then drove back home.  Our condo was practically on the course (and we passed that point twice!)  So really being at home was a better spectator spot than the start/finish.  My mom joined him later to take the photos.

I knew so many people running this race, either the half or the 5K, so it was fun trying to find as many people as I could before the start.  I was there about an hour before the start, which was perfect.  They had baggage check that was well organized and I was able to stay warmly dressed up until very close to the start. 

This was the first year of this race and it actually set a record.  It was the largest (in terms of participants) inaugural race in the history of CT.  I was super impressed by everything about this race, especially since they were only expecting 1000 runners and got over 2000!  We walked on over to the start, and though it was a little late, the start went off without a hitch.

During my pregnancy, my times have gotten slower and slower.  My fastest half marathon time is at an 8:15 pace, but about 1 week into pregnancy I was already at a 9 minute pace.  Then it crept up to 9:30 then to 10:00 and lately, I've been hovering around 11.  My latest half marathon training run was a little over a 2:30 something, so that's what I was expecting to do. 

I started off faster than I had run in a long time...ooops.  I guess adrenaline happens to pregnant people too!

Mile 1: 9:30.5
Mile 2: 9:40.3
Mile 3: 9:49.2
Mile 4: 9:57.8

At about this time, I did start to notice that I was feeling my heart rate get higher than I'd felt in a while.  My doctors have never said I needed to keep my heart rate at any certain number, but instead have said I should be able to pass the talk test during any exercise.  At this point, I felt that I was getting closer to not being able to have a conversation, so I began to back down a little bit.

Mile 5: 10:04.2

Eric and my mom were waiting around mile 5.5.  I was so excited to see them, especially since I hadn't taken one walking break yet and was still feeling great. 

Mile 6: 10:18
Mile 7: 10:26

I used my handheld up until this point.  I took a gel at mile 6, but when I started to feel a bit queasy, I started taken Gatorade at every water stop, starting a mile 7.  One of the greatest parts of this race for me was that I knew the course by heart.  The entire course was made up of my regular routes.  Though I don't think this is always the best, I really appreciated it on Sunday.  I had been training so much less than I normally had, so I wasn't bored of these trails.  

Mile 8: 10:40.6
Mile 9: 10:45.8

Eric and my mom were waiting at around mile 9.5.  It was great to see them again and get a cheer for Baby PR!

Mile 10 was one of my favorite miles of the course even though I was really hoping for a porta potty.  They had them at mile 3, 4 and 5 so I kind of assumed there would be more.  However, there wasn't another until mile 11ish.  Normally I wouldn't care about this, but being pregnant and trying really hard to stay hydrated, definitely had me wishing for another bathroom.   However, I loved these miles because the cheering sections were great.  There were groups from the high school and I ran by teachers I used to have!

Mile 10: 11:04.6
Mile 11: 10:52.5
Mile 12: 11:13.6 (might have been the bathroom stop mile...can't remember for sure)

The end of the race was great, as I got to finish on my high school track.  As I was rounding the course, I saw my friends from Team in Training, plus friends from my gym and some of my current students.  It was such a great way to finish a great race!

Mile 13: 10:50.2
.1: 10:07

According to my watch, I finished with a 2:17.03, my gun and official time was more like 2:18.40.  Sure this wasn't a best time by any means.  In fact is was more than 30 minutes off my best split in a full marathon.  However, I can't be more proud.  I didn't have to walk at all; my baby and I are both healthy and I can't wait to tell him about this experience and hopefully convince him how great this sport is. 

The rest of the day I was definitely sore, especially my hips. This is not a surprise, as they are loosening up so they can do what they are supposed to do.  I also was recovering from a cold, so I spent most of the afternoon hacking away.  All worth it though!

Now I'm feeling great.  I took a day off from working out, but was back to spinning by Tuesday.  I still haven't run, but it's more about feeling like spinning rather than running than it is about feeling sore.

So now what's next?  Maybe a 10K, also in our town.  Maybe nothing, but just running when I feel like it.  All I know is that when this race was first announced, I wasn't sure if I'd be able to do it.  So glad this pregnancy has allowed me to do so!

Cheshire Half Marathon

The race report is coming (just waiting for pictures) but just wanted to let you all know that Baby PR and I crossed the finish line of the awesome inaugural Cheshire Half Marathon.  I have lots to say about how well this race was organized and how impressed I am, but I'll save it for the race report. 

Here's a couple pics pre-race while I get my act together! Baby PR's first bib! 

We finished in a 2:18ish, had only one bathroom stop, and I didn't have to walk once.  Not too shabby for 28 weeks! (However it was a way different experience than "racing" a half marathon and certainly a different pace!)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Still Running

It's been a while since I've posted a long run report, but this weekend I had a pretty good one, so I figured it was due.

As I've mentioned, I'm still training for a local 1/2 marathon in about 3 weeks.  When I first found out that this race would be offered in our town and I calculated that I would be about 28 weeks pregnant on race day, I knew I still wanted to do it.  I'd read stories about how people run through their whole pregnancy and also about how some people's body's don't let them.  I didn't know what I would be, but I was sure hoping it would be possible.

My training plan was very loose.  I didn't even really have a plan.  I'd run when I could during the week, but it was way more demanding on my body, so this was never more than twice during the week.  These runs were short, usually between 3-6 miles.  Then I would try to get in a longer run on Saturday.  Longer to me (at this time) meant 11-13 miles.  The following weekend, I would cut down to something between 7-10.  Basically that was my pattern.  I've kept that up for about 9 or so weeks, meaning this plan will eventually be about 12 weeks long. 

This past weekend, I ended up doing my longest run of the cycle at 13.6.  I've slowed way down; my pace was over 11 miles and pre-pregnancy  I'd be running these at about 8:20-8:40.  I'm not at all upset about this, but I do wonder why some women slow way down like this (and still feel good) and others don't slow down as much.  My body started slowing down almost immediately like before we even knew I was in fact pregnant.  I have continued to slow way down each week, but have been hovering between 10:30s and 11:30s for a few weeks now.  I finished this 13.6 mile run at about 2:35.  The half I'm doing has a time limit of 3:15, so I should be good. 

The other thing I've had to do is make sure that I have places to take a pit stop.  Though I'm lucky and haven't noticed a HUGE issue with this as some women do.  It is important.  Eric and I have a favorite breakfast spot on Saturdays, so I head there for a pee break and then we end up back there after my run. 

Also, normally during a half, especially during a training run, I wouldn't fuel up.  However, I noticed on Saturday, that his is going to have to change.  I really felt like I needed some fuel and I didn't have any.  I'm not sure if this has to do more with the run taking me a longer time or if it's because of the pregnancy, but there will be no more running without shot blocks! 

Hope you all had great long runs this weekend.  What's your experience with having to change your running style, plan, etc. whether it has to do with pregnancy or something else? 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Pregnancy Fitness

I guess I really fell off the wagon with weekly updates...I'm not exactly sure why, but I will say that my "bump" never really looked the way I thought it should back when I last posted and taking the weekly shot was doing more harm to my self esteem than any good.  Stupid, yes, but true.

However, I have not stopped being pregnant nor have I stopped working out.  I wanted to take a few moments to update my workout and running progress as a pregnant runner. 

Basically my week looks like this (workout wise):
Monday Evening Spin
Tuesday Evening Spin and 20-30 minutes of strength training
Wednesday A.M Spin and afternoon 3-6 mile run
Thursday Evening Spin and 20-30 minutes of strength training
Friday A.M. Spin and sometimes and afternoon 2-3 mile run
Saturday A.M. Longish run These runs have ranged from 7-13 miles depending on the week. 
Sunday either rest or spin class

Over the course of the last 24 weeks I have wavered from this schedule very little.  I've taken an extra day off because my back was bothering me once and I think one day when I had a cold, I took a day off. 

I don't feel like I'm ever overdoing it and I know that it's the right thing for me and the baby.  My runs have gotten much slower, but they are still enjoyable (in a different kind of way).  Spin has changed very little; I'm just drinking a little more often, which I probably should have been doing anyway.  I also have been drinking more throughout the day.  The one other difference I see is that after a longish run I really do need to eat something or I will feel nauseous.  This wasn't always the case for me, but with the pregnancy it's something I've noticed.

I've so far run the half marathon distance twice since being pregnant and plan on running around 13 this Saturday. My hometown is hosting it's first half marathon on the 29th and I would like to do that.  Based on how this Saturday's run goes, I will decide for sure if I am signing up.  Besides the speed in running, I notice that I sometimes get some round ligament pain, but if I walk through it for a minute or two, it goes away.  My OB said it's typical and nothing to worry about.  I have checked in with her at each appointment just to make sure my level of activity is OK.

I have been very lucky to have an easy pregnancy so far.  I think a great deal of this has to do with sticking to a semi-normal workout routine.  What's your experience with fitness during pregnancy? 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Surprise It's a ...

On Sunday we went out to a late pizza lunch with friends.  We were back in town around 4 o clock and I said to Eric, Let's go do something... So being the exciting pregnant couple that we are, we decided to go to Babies R Us.  When we went to take a left into the parking lot (with our blinker on and in a left turn only lane...) we were hit by a swerving man, who proceeded to drive away.  Long story short we had to wait over an hour for the cops to arrive, the guy's license plate was void, but we were all FINE (minus Eric's bumper). 

My mom convinced me that I should get checked out, just to be sure.  I was pretty convinced the OB would say not to worry about it, but they were surprised it took me so long to call and wanted me to come in at the next available appointment, which was Valentine's morning. Tuesday morning I went in for this "emergency" ultra sound and lo and behold, the ultrasound tech was able to tell the gender of baby PR. 

I asked her to write it down and seal it up in an envelope since Eric was at work.  She did so and when I got back to school, the other teachers wrote out a note from baby PR that surprise...the gender was revealed.  Eric and I already had dinner plans for Valentine's Day so when we arrived at the restaurant, I gave the hostess the envelope and letter to give to our waitress to give to us.  When she came by with the envelope that said "special delivery to Mommy and Daddy,"  Eric was very surprised!  We opened it together and found out that Baby PR is a BOY! 

We are so excited and now have to think of a name.  We had both agreed on a girl's name, but our list of boys' names is getting longer rather than shorter.  I know some people choose not to find out, but suddenly everything seems more real to me, so I am so glad we decided to find out! 

Hope you all had a great Valentine's Day!