Monday, May 31, 2010

Why do I race?

I ran my 3rd half of the year yesterday and they are only getting worse. Two of the past three that I have run have been frustrating and uncomfortable and all I wanted was to be done. The half I ran 4 weeks ago was the only one that felt good and was enjoyable. I think it is time to step back and reassess my training, racing, and fueling.

I decided not to experiment with this race and went back to my old standbys of a PB bagel and banana for breakfast and a Gu before and during the race. To prevent myself for going out too fast I lined up with the 1:45 pace group to keep an 8:01 pace. This backfired too! I'm not huge on running with pacers and this only reinforced that. I tried not to look at my Garmin since I figured the pacer was on, but when the pace felt faster I looked to see the first 2 miles were around 7:30. I slowed to my own pace and ran for awhile with the 3:30 pacer for the full who was actually running the right pace. This lasted until mile 4 when the race was over. I didn't remember this hill being so bad last year, but yikes it sucked. Now we're running uphill and in to the wind, but soon the course would turn and the wind would be at my back. Wrong again as soon as we made the turn the wind disappeared, so now it was calm, sunny and hot (80F) and not even 8am by now.

The race only continued to get worse as I was caught and passed by the 3:40 pacer and soon the 3:45 pacer, but still no 1:50 pacer in sight. Now I am hot, sweaty, tired and the belly cramps are starting. At this point I am waiting for Matt to catch up with me and figure I'll just finish with him. I was even tempted to stop and wait for him to catch up. Yep, I gave up on this race and considered removing my chip to prevent the time from being recorded. I continued along and walked the next hill at mile 9-10, I haven't done this in years. Luckily it made me feel a little better and my speed picked up when I started running again. I was now passed by the 1:55 pacer and was only waiting for the 2:00 group. Finally I turn the corner and see the finish line, an end is in sight! Somehow I managed to cross in 1:53, but behind the 1:55 pacer, I thought pacers were supposed to be right on? I guess they need better pacers.

I know many people would be thrilled with a 1:53, but I know I can run better and have twice this month already. Worse than my time was just feeling like I didn't want to run and wondering why I was even doing this. Last year I ran the full with this race at 6 1/2 weeks pregnant and felt the best I have ever felt during and after a race, yes it was cooler and I took it easy finishing with a 3:56. In the past 24 hours I am feeling less disappointed with the time and just more upset with how I have felt during races, I'm not enjoying it. Yes, I've had tough miles before, but not this consistent that I can't figure out and I don't like it.

More complaining here: besides the GI issues of the past couple months, I am once again fatigued, weak, and lack energy. I haven't felt this bad since I was first pregnant, no I not pregnant. Do I need to eat better while breastfeeding? Not sure, I feel like I am already eating constantly. Am I dehydrated? Maybe, it has been hot, but I am constantly drinking water. Is my thyroid low again? Maybe, but unlikely since 2 months ago it was the best it has ever been since being diagnosed with hypothyroid. Am I getting enough sleep? Yes, Ophelia is sleeping through the night and I am getting between 8-9 hours.

Okay, I'm done complaining; now I need to step back and rethink my training. I have 5 weeks until my next race and really need to focus on good training. I'm having a hard time with this since I never train for halfs, they usually are just a part of full marathon training.

Friday, May 28, 2010

4 months

In the beginning the time went slow, but now it is flying by and I can't believe it has been 4 months already! We survived another round of shots and had another perfect check-up. I was reading last week that babies double their brith weight at 4 months and thought, no way she was going be 15 1/2 lbs. I was right, Ophelia is not 12lb 2oz (30th percentile) and 25" (70th percentile). I was a little nervous since she dropped from 50th to 30th and we have friends whose 6 month old did this and they were told to start waking her up at night to eat, no way I was going to do this! I was happy when the pediatrician looked at the numbers, my healthy, happy girl, and then to me and said "she takes after you, tall and thin, everything looks great." We got the okay to start adding in foods anytime between now and 6 months, now to figure out when to start.

I knew from before her birth that she would be a mover and she is. Whether it is just lying on her back kicking (or running and we call it) or rolling across the room she is always moving. Even at night she's moving. I swear she's almost ready to crawl, for the past week she'll get on her tummy and push with the legs while pulling with her arms making some forward movement. Besides the moving she's all smiles and talks or blows spit bubbles all day. Who knew spit bubbles could be so exciting?

The BOB has been a life saver for our running and 90% of the time results in a nap for Ophelia. Getting the miles up and being back to racing has resulted in my weight getting closer to my training weight, I am now 3 pounds below my pre-preggo weight and at the top end of where I normally sit when training. Even better, I now have another pair of pants that fit! Now to just be back to where I was 2 years ago with my running.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My experimental half marathon

When I decided to start racing after baby I thought this would be my first race and be my goal race. Prior to the race I had 3 goals 1) Beat the 1:52 I ran 3 weeks ago 2) Beat the 1:48 from last year when I ran this race 2 days after finding out I was pregnant 3) sub 1:45. Well I only acomplished one of the goals and prior to starting decided to make the race an experiment since things were not looking favorable. For some reason the night was not a good night of sleep, baby was up to eat twice and I was in need of a few more hours of sleep when my alarm went off.

After the last half I knew I needed to work on my eating before and fueling during the race to avoid the energy crash again. I started by switich up breakfast and ate a massive bowl of cereal with soy milk, a banana, and coffee. I then laced up brand new shoes and had a debate with myself until I finally came to my senses and decided to stick with my old pair. I continued to experiment as I took a Hammer gel before the race and grabbed Gu Chomps for the course. I know, what was I thinking doing everything different. How was I going to tell what worked and what didn't?

The first issue came when I decided to get out of the long bathroom line and start the race with a full bladder instead. This only resulted in an early stop at mile 4 to remedy the issue. I once again started out too fast, but was feeling great as I held a 7:30 pace for the first 3 miles this turned into 8:00 pace and eventually 8:30 pace as the many hills came and went. At the halfway point I was still on pace to beat last years time, but by Mile 10 I was passed by the 1:50 pacer and I knew that goal was gone. The race only got worse at this point, I have been having GI issues off an on for the past 2 months and by Mile 11 my abdomen was a massive cramp. Luckily these were 2 of the easiest miles of the course I knew I was close, the 1:50 pace group was still in sight so I just kept pushing along and made it to the end.

I beat my previous time by finishing in 1:50:21, but am still in search of the answer to the fueling question. I don't think the massive bowl of cereal was the answer and I now have no idea if the Hamer gel or Chomps were good or bad. Oh well off to the next one on Sunday with better planning and hopefully a better night of sleep and a better finish. I also need to spend some time putting together a better playlist for my iPod, I spent musch of the race flipping past songs to find some motivation. On the positive side, my child loves being outside and watching the runners and even better grandma and grandpa don't mind spending the morning with her so mommy and daddy can race.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Spring is back

After a week of grey, cloudy skies with rain and temps in the 40s Spring is back! The sun is shining, the rain is gone and the temps are in the upper 70s with 80s on the way. I love this weather, but yikes my body needs a little time adjusting to running in the heat again. Saturday's run (if you can call it that) was the toughest I've had in almost a year. It probably wasn't the smartest idea to run hills at 4pm with a temp of 80 after working all day and probably being dehydrated. It may be time to start some early morning running before work, I’m up at 5am anyways what’s another hour awake? Yesterday’s run was much better; 5.5 hilly miles with the BOB but cooler temps was actually easier and faster than Saturday and we saw two deer along the path.

I have the week to adapt or this Saturday's half will be interesting, luckily it starts early and should only be in the 60s in the morning. Not sure what is worse running in 80 and heat or the gusty winds and freezing temps of last year’s race. This is the same race I ran last year right after I found out I was pregnant and my goal is to beat last year’s time, which would mean taking 5 mins off my time from earlier this month. Now I need to organize my iPod and add some more good running songs for the race, suggestions?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

How I enjoyed my first Mother's Day
-Starting the day with a happy baby who slept through the night and took a 3 1/2 hour nap
-10 mile run
-Drinking coffee and reading the newspaper
-Dinner of grilled shrimp and asparagus
-Saturday night dinner out with my parent's, Matt, and Ophelia (her first dinner out) at a wonderful Indian restaraunt
-My first Mother's Day gift from Ophelia was a new Garmin 405 since my old 305 decided to go on maternity leave along with me and never return to working. Matt knows me too well, I don't need flowers or jewelry, just running gear to make me happy.

Here is a great mother's day article for all the running moms.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Back to work

As of yesterday I am officially a working mom. At first the maternity leave was going so slow and I even told Matt I was ready to go back to work at 6 weeks in exchange for time off later. The Ophelia became her own person and started doing more than just eating and sleeping and the rest of the time flew by. Luckily for me the end of the semester was last week, so I have a month to transition back into working before needing to think about classes again.

Somehow my child knew that something was going on when we attempted to go to sleep on Sunday night. She finally decided to fall asleep at 10pm, only to be awake to eat at 11pm and again at 3:30am. This was a huge change since she has been sleeping through the night or only waking up between 4-5am for about a month. Thanks to her eratic sleep I was awake for the day at 3:30, it was a good thing work for busy and I didn't have time to think about my lack of sleep and need for coffee. Ophelia had a great day with grandma and even managed a couple naps. It was nice being back in the "real world" and now I'm enjoying my first day off after being back to work, what a nice schedule!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

My 1st postpartum race: Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon

A few weeks ago I decided that I wanted to get back to racing, even if it was just for fun. It was perfect timing, a half marathon to complete my 13 miles at 13 weeks. I was going into the race without a time goal and planned to have fun and run comfortably.

The weather was nearly perfect, 50s at the start with sun, but a pretty good wind on most of the course. Everyone decided to walk to the start with me, Matt was pushing Ophelia in the stroller, and my parents were behind us. As we were walking a man and woman were looking at Ophelia and me, the woman said to the man “Is that her baby? Is she running?” Kind of made me smile.

The race had wave starts and due to long port-a-potty lines I missed the 1st wave and ended up in Wave 2, the 2-2:15 group. It wasn’t too tough to get myself out of the group and get on a good pace. I was hoping to catch the 1:50 pace group, but then I remember that the 1st wave started 3 minutes before I did and that doing so probably wasn’t the best idea for easy running.

The course was great, I think I can say that this is one of my favorite half marathon courses. The course was mostly lakeside and through some neighborhoods and then finished with a mile on trails. It was a little hilly, but nothing too bad except the spots where I was running up hill and into the wind.

I debated posting my mile splits since I wasn’t truly running for a time, but they are all over the place and only show that I need to work on consistency. I decided I need I’d do it as a reminder to myself.

Mile 1-8:27
Mile 2-7:51 Uh, oh a little fast, didn’t I say I wasn’t racing?
Mile 3-8:11
Mile 4-8:42
Mile 5-8:31
Mile 6-8:56 Decided it was time to lose that jacket, which I just couldn’t do while running.
Mile 7-8:21
Mile 8-8:31
Mile 9-8:49
Mile 10-8:47
Mile 11-8:57 I’m losing the energy that I started with.
Mile 12-9:05
Mile 13-8:31 Last mile and the energy is coming back or maybe I just want to get to the food sooner.

1:52:50 8:37 pace

Not close to a PR, but better then the half at 5 months pregnant and I’m just happy to be back running. I went into the race just wanting to be back in the race atmosphere and told myself I wouldn’t worry about the time. It reminded me that I don’t need a jacket in this weather and how annoying running with one around your waist for 7 miles and that Clif Blox can be tough to chew when running, next race I'm trying something different. I’m fine with the time and just know that I need to work on speedwork more, okay I need to add it back to my schedule. I also need to figure out the best way to fuel for races while breastfeeding. My typical prerace meal and race fuel just didn’t seem to be enough. This afternoon I have an appetite like I just ran a full marathon!

After the race the next comment came, I walked up to Ophelia in the stroller and picked her up, Matt said something like “there’s mommy”. Two people were standing there and said “is that her baby?” “it is her baby and she just ran!”

Ophelia loved watching the race, she just gets so excited to watch people and look around, she even wore her little Nikes so she would fit in with the runners. On the walk back to the car she decided to start waving. Okay so it was just in mimicking when someone would wave at her, but it was so cute.