Friday, September 19, 2014

Taper Time and Other Stupid House Crap

So, as I'm sitting here contemplating an early escape from work, I get a text from my husband that the neighbors have tented their house. We have Corky's coming tomorrow so you know what that means. Our house will probably get the "you need to tent" verdict as well. I fucking hate tenting. Yes, it deserves that level of curse word.

When you have two dogs, and now a baby, tenting is a giant inconvenience. Like, Massive Pain in the Ass because you have to clear out of your house for I think 72 hours. I remember last time we did it, it was Friday to Monday. Nevermind it's a couple thousand bucks, but you need to put yourself up somewhere, then you need to also put your dogs somewhere. So then you have to get your dogs all their shots (I always keep up on rabies, but with my 11 year old female, it's fairly unlikely that she suddenly is no longer immune to Distemper/Parvo/etc when she's been vaccinated a bajillion times in her life. After a while it does more harm than good - read up on Hemolytic Anemia and canine vaccines if you are interested).

Most of my frustration all stems from the original butt holes (Terminix) who gave my house the "all clear" when we were in escrow. Not one week after we moved in, we found frass on the back stoop of our master bedroom. Not just a "tiny bit" like "oh they just moved in like us," but that they have been fully settled in with a large extended family. Again, Terminix does a crap-tastic job. This is par for the course with them. And the previous owners had a subscription-like contract with them where they would come check yearly or more often, and then also treat. So, it's not even like the screwed up once. They screwed up over a period of years. They're only in it for the money, clearly.

Anywho, so this week I went into taper. 52 miles, down to 28. Sunday, I ran 20 miles with my buddy and we started at 6am before the sun was even up because it's been so freaking hot here. Like miserably hot and humid. This week it was 99F at my house and felt like 104F because of humidity. I live 1 mile from the bay, and about 3 miles from the ocean. It's not normal and it has made training for this marathon mentally challenging for me because the heat makes it more difficult to hit paces or when those paces are run, it feels harder. Just starting the 20 miler an hour early this last time, it felt 100% better than the previous weekend. But it still was tough with 81F at 9:30am literally on the beach. I just hope I can pull it through on race day. That and we don't get crazy headwind and/or hot weather. If I fail, I don't want that excuse. I want no reason other than myself and my own performance as to why I didn't make it under 3:40.

Time to go home!

Friday, September 12, 2014

St George Marathon: Long, Overdue Update

Looks like the last time I wrote a post was a recap of training week 7 & 8. Man do I suck. I am 2 days away from completing my peak week of 53 miles, including the fifth and final 20 miler. 

Where did 20 miler #6 go? 

There have been some small hiccups over the last 18 weeks. Specifically two missed or altered workouts. 20 miler #3 came at the end of week 11, where it went 20, then 16, then 20. Which, for me, is rough. I had gotten about 2-3 hours of sleep the night before and woke up feeling very much off, but I still went out there. Well, as I was getting through the first 11 mile loop, each mile got slower and slower. Around mile 6 I decided to just try to make to 16 miles. It felt like the last leg of Ragnar Ultra 2012. My body did not want to go. I wanted to lay down on the bike path in Mission Beach, and just sleep there. I finished up the first loop of 11.25 miles and called it. 30 minutes later we had the craziest thunderstorm downpour. In Venice Beach (up in LA) some dude got struck by lighting and died. So yeah. Probably good my body told me to stop that day.

The other workout I missed was somewhere in the last 4 weeks, I felt that I was teetering on the edge of injury (my back was very unhappy likely from hamstring and IT band tightness). Speed work was not going to work well, so just did regular easy miles. 

And crap. I just plugged today’s lunch-break miles into my spreadsheet and apparently my math didn’t add up right because I am short exactly one mile. So I could run a mile tomorrow, or just call it at 52 miles. FAIL. 

I don’t think a mile is going to drastically change the outcome of the race. If it does, then I’m done with marathoning because that’s dumb and arbitrary.

So 3 hiccups then. 

Can you tell I’m annoyed with myself? Feh.

Now, I know it’s summer and all, but holy shit, this has been the sweatiest armpit of a summer ever in San Diego. We have had humidity like I’m back in Massachusetts or something. Any run done outside results in my clothing being entirely soaked through where it takes 8+ hours hanging in my bathroom to dry. For the last 20 miler I did, I went through 70 ounces of fluid (more than 2 liters. Not Liter Cola) and ran out in the last mile. Putting that into perspective, in the past I would run 20 milers with a 28 ounce Fuel Belt and have never had to refill it during the run. I feel like I need to start wearing 80’s terry cloth headbands in addition to my running hat because the hat is not keeping the sweat out of my eyes. And I don’t “do” my eyebrows - they are full-on unplucked and bushy. And they can’t even keep the sweat out of my eyes with a hat.

It’s been like this since July (hello, down pour thunderstorm in July? Also abnormal). So you can imagine I’m am very much ready to be done with this marathon training. 

The stats.

As of July 1st, I had run one 20, two 16s, and an 18. 

July: Mileage on the Upswing

Long runs: 20 x 1, 16 x 1
Tempos: usually 5 miles long (excluding warm up/down) ~ 7:55
Mile Repeats: 4 @ 7:27
Total Miles: 173 miles

August: Wherein It Got Real

Long runs: 20 x 1, 16 x 2
Tempos: 6 miles long ~ 7:55
Mile Repeats: 4 x 7:17
Total Miles: 195 miles

I have never run 195 miles in a month. I think that the 173 miles in July might have been pretty close to the highest monthly mileage I have ever posted. 

In case anyone cares about my walking moo-cow status, I am still nursing, still pumping at work. Is it getting old? Yes. Not the nursing part but more the pumping part. It’s a pain in the ass to have to tack on an extra 30 minutes of time (~20 minutes pumping, and then 5-ish minutes of setup/breakdown/etc) to pump before I can go out for my long run. It’s also a pain in the ass to know that I can’t just get up and run really early in the morning before everyone gets up because I would have to pump. And then I would not be able to feed Elise before I left for work unless it was with a bottle. Another pain in the ass. 

It’s not all bad, though. I can mow through any and all food I care to eat and I still am barely taking in all that I am burning (as evidenced by the fact that I am a pound or two down from pre-baby weight and my boobs for sure weigh more even in “empty” state). I am almost worried that once she weans, I will have to actually pay attention to all that I am shoveling into my face.

But the big question. Is this all going to pay off? 

I don’t know. I hope so. I haven’t been able to race much. Or at all really. So it’s hard to know where I’m at. I do know that a 6 mile tempo (yes on the treadmill, but still) at 7:50 felt like cake. Like NBD. So I feel like I am probably close to where I was at when I ran my half marathon PR (1:41:02) last January. And I know I was damn close to BQ shape then, if not there with proper rest (since it was pretty dumb to attempt to BQ 3 weeks after running a hard effort at Carlsbad). 

So, I’m feeling cautiously positive. But there are a lot of factors. Will my legs be able to handle the downhill without explicitly training for it? I hope so, I don’t have these big ass quads and hamstrings for nothing. Or maybe they are just for show (weird, because no thigh gap, so not much of a "show"). What if it’s hotter than a monkey’s crotch on race day? I’ve been training in the hottest summer I’ve ever experienced ,but that may not be enough/the same as hot desert heat.

Well... if it all goes to shit, then there’s always Houston for attempt #2. 

Whatever, in 3 days I get to taper! After 18 weeks I am really looking forward to 28 miles total next week.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

St. George Marathon Training - Weeks #7 & 8 and a Race!

So the good thing about having a lot of time to train for marathon is you can build up a pretty good base and work your way up to a 50+ miles per week. The bad thing about having a lot of time to train for a marathon is you get to week 8 and you still have 13 weeks of training and five 20-milers left. Ugh.

But for the most part, the 8 weeks have been relatively uneventful and have gone by quickly. The shitty thing about the rest of this plan is that starting in week 10, the shortest midweek runs are 9-10 miles. This makes it nearly impossible to do at lunch and still be able to get home to feed the baby. So I'll probably be splitting one of the days into a two-a-day scenario (run part at lunch and the rest at night on the treadmill or outside). The other one, well, I am going to be taking PTO so I can run them during the workday while Elise is being watched my parents. 

Yes, this is how serious I am about making the BQ happen. I'm using PTO for training.

SmartCoach: Week 7 & 8

Week 7: 39 miles


8 miles @ 8:51

Lunch run which means that I regularly sweat my ass off and do lots of rolling hill climbing, usually 900-1000 feet. I had to run a smidge into a trail to get to 4 miles, but then I sort of freaked a bit that I would get attacked or something and turned around .15 miles into the bike trail. Then I saw a runner and two coworkers on mountain bikes on my way out! Later when I asked them about the trail, they said it was usually empty. So my instincts were probably accurate and that was the last time I got on that trail.

Thursday: Tempo

7 miles @ 8:19

Tempo on the treadmill at work - fairly uneventful. I no longer bother with the incline because I find that my achilles and calves get cranky when I run at even .5% for longer than a couple minutes. So I usually end up running a bit faster to make up for the fact that the treadmill on 0% is easier than road. And, really, for me speedwork is like extra bonus. I ran my fastest times at all distances when I was just piling on long slow mileage for 50K training.


8 miles @ 8:43

I was blessed with good weather. Humid, but the temps were in the low 70s and it was overcast. And that is clearly reflected in the pace of this run. It actually felt really easy to run 8 miles at that pace - my indicator on if I am pushing to hard is if I am getting close to the point where I need to start breathing through my mouth to maintain pace. This holds true even on hill climbs. If I am getting the the point where I start mouth breathing, then I take it back a notch until my breathing slows down.

Sunday: Long Run

16 miles @ 8:53

My main running squeeze met me down in my hood early (6:45am) and we knocked out 16 miles. In mile 1 a gazelle-like creature floated towards us on the grass in Mission Bay park and we realized it was Meb! Nicole then tweeted him later if that was him and he replied yes! 

Sometimes I really do love my new neighborhood for more than the improved commute.

Week 8: 30-ish miles

Back down week which coincided with a company holiday week wherein we were shutdown and paid anyway. It was awesome. It also meant I was running miles with the stroller. 

Elise is 6.5 months now and I figured she was ready to go in the BOB without the car seat. I bought a u-shaped padded headrest from Target for $11 since the stroller doesn't come with that part and really doesn't need to. I'm not even sure she needs it to get honest, I just figured if fell asleep it might be nice for her to have a place to rest her head.

As it turns out, I think she was ready to be without the car seat for a while. Probably since 4 months. She's been standing upright with very good head control since well before 3 months. I actually don't even remember when. I just know that at her baptism, The Husband was holding her arms and she was standing on the counter blabbing and screeching away at 3 months. And this wasn't anything new.

Running without the carseat attachment is like night and day. So much easier to maneuver. So much lighter. It was a pleasure! The only part that was worse was running into wind. It was like pushing a parachute and I was literally huffing and puffing to finish my five miler on flat ground.


8 miles @ 9:00 pace

Pushed Elise around Mission Bay - temps were great and very little wind!


5 miles @ 9:01

Pushed Elise again around the bay but the second half was into the wind and by the end I was pretty miserable and out of breath! Damn you, Wind!

I cut this run short and ran a day early because I was registered to run Scripps Ranch Old Pros 10K on the 4th and I wanted a rest day and fresher legs.

Friday: 10k Race

Racing has become quite infrequent just because it's a major hassle. If it's not right down the street, I have to take the pump with me, and then pump in the car. Super awkward, more so physically than socially at this point. I've gotten over people seeing me with the cover, pumping away. Or nursing away if baby is with me.

This one was 20 minutes away and big enough that parking is a bit of a pain so I had to leave early. I still got screwed with the parking because effing JROTC dude kicked me out of the spot at Vons (I wonder if they paid him or if it was volunteer work. Anyway.) though there was nothing blocking it when I parked in the first place (and others had too). I just got screwed because I had to pump and was still sitting there when the "rent an officer" showed up. Fun times. Had to find another spot ASAP on the street because the valid spots in the lot were full. I was pissed and vowed not to shop at that specific Vons.


I jogged half mile or so to the start. I used the portajohns and had about 4 minutes to get behind the start line. No corrals so I was weaving like crazy.

This race is the home of my current 10K PR of 45:41 (7:19 pace). Two years back I had a much stronger base and it was also overcast and cooler. 2014's conditions were around 75 degrees with some humidity and sun.

First mile was 7:53. After that, the miles went 7:36,  7:32, 7:40, 7:41, 7:24, and 1:28 to finish (6:50 pace). I was afraid to start pushing the pace to early, but I think I probably waited a bit too long. I didn't really try picking it up until I was into the 6th mile. As you can see, my pace at the end was significatly faster than the rest of the race. I finished 47:16, average pace 7:37

Overall I'm pleased because I am not very far off from my previous PR. Given the conditions, I think I would have run somewhere around 46:00 in 2012 shape. So I'm somewhere around 1 minute and change off. I'll take it.


10 miles @ 9:19 pace

I tacked on 2 miles to make up for the 3 miles I cut out on Wednesday. I ran the pain in the ass hill - the 270 feet of climbing in .75 miles. I hate that hill. It was also hot and humid (like 70%+ humidity which is very uncharacteristic of San Diego). It was one of the most disgusting runs I've ever done from a sweat perspective, and it's reflected in my pace - the slowest long run of the cycle even though it was the shortest.

Other Stuff

I'm going to attempt another race on August 3rd. It's a ridiculously hilly course in Balboa Park with quite a bit of trail running, but it's cheap and it'll be good training. I ran it once in 2011 or 2010 - can't remember which year. I'm not looking forward to the ass kicking but at least I'll get to wear my trail shoes.

Monday, June 30, 2014

St George Marathon Training Week #6 - First 20 Miler

This week marked my first 20 miler of my training plan. We came back from Baltimore the Monday and I was on leave until Wednesday. Though I had to work from home part of Wednesday due to the Breakmilk Spoliage Crisis of 2014.

Week #6 plan:

My sidekick, while I write this today, is working on her pushups:


5.5 @ 8:54 around Mission Bay park, pushing stroller with carseat.

Because I had failed to do 7 miles in the ridiculous Baltimore heat, I added a half mile the to scheduled 5 miles. I would have done more except my back got totally jacked up from all the flying and the driving (600 miles in 5 days) and I was afraid was going to make it worse, so I just did that little bit of extra.

I also hit up Road Runner Sports because my Brooks Ghost 5's were done. I don't even know how many miles I put on them since February but they felt dead. I tried the Ghost 7's which felt great, but I also tried the Ravennas. I used to run in the Ravenna 1 and 2, religiously. The third version they changed it and, in my opinion, it was for the worse. I tried the fourth on at RRS with quick jaunt on the treadmill and they also felt wrong. But I loved the first and second versions so I felt compelled try the fifth. And, I'm not entirely sure what they did, but they feel similar to the first version. I had a hard time deciding between the Ghost 7 and Ravenna 5 but I ended up going with the Ravenna's because they were a hair light (.1 ounce) and I have had great success with them in the past.


7 miles @ average 8:30.
Mile 1: 7:30, Mile 2 and 3: 7:23, Mile 4: 7:19

I was back to work, so I ran my speedwork on the treadmill. I figured it could be stupid try the Ravennas on a 20 miler as the first run, I did the first run/test run with them for this workout.

Shoes were fine, but mile repeats always feel hard to me. I never thought I'd say this but the I'm liking the tempo days better than the mile repeat days. The only kind of speedwork that I don't mind is fartleks. All other forms, for me, are painful. This is especially true for track workouts.


5 miles @ 8:59

I don't remember exactly what was going on but I think I had a pain in the butt day at work and had to run the 5 miles after work. I was able to nurse the baby as soon as I got home and then go down to the bay to tackle the 5. I didn't want to run them on Saturday and then run 20 on Sunday - that rest day in between felt important to me.


First 20 miler of training. In new shoes! The shoes were great. But, boy, did the last 3 miles or so hurt. It was the toughest 20 miles in recent memory (i.e. last 3 years or so). I went up to North County to run with Nicole - we ran from Leucadia to Oceanside and back. We then decided a Slurpee was absolutely required after such an effort. It is really the best post-recovery drink, in my mind. Super cold, icy, sugary drink!

On the Stroller

This weekend, we tried Elise in the BOB without the car seat for a walk and it looks like she is ready for runs without it. I bought a head support thingy from Target for her to rest her head to the side if she decides to pass out during a run, though I'm not even sure it's necessary. I'm going to try it out tomorrow for 8 miles since I am home (company holiday week!).

Saturday, June 21, 2014

St George Marathon Training - Week #4 & 5 Review

I'm telling you, now while I think that lots of folks exaggerate how much time or how much harder your life is with kids, I do have to agree that it's tough finding time just to write up weekly training updates! Maybe if I didn't have a full-time job but even then, I don't know. Then I'd probably have to clean the house while I was home, so there goes the free time.

Anyway, so, this week has been a roller coaster that began with our return back from the East Coast (we had a wedding to attend) wherein I found that someone (either my parents or grandmother) had bumped the finicky chest freezer plug in the garage. I lost 400oz of frozen breast milk, as well as a shit load of food (mahi mahi, chicken, beef, bread, ice cream, etc). The breast milk, though. Man, I ugly cried for 20 minutes. I then had to try to pump anything left over out of my body because I didn't have enough for Elise when I went back to work. It was a fucking disaster. Thankfully, I am a dairy cow and I have caught up and even froze 5 ounces this morning. But I am still heartbroken over the loss - someone could have used it and instead it's sitting in a landfill, spoiled.

With the trip back east, I knew that I wouldn't be able to run the scheduled 18 miles. So I swapped the back down week with the 18 miler. A bit hesitantly, I must say, because it meant I had 4 consecutive hard weeks rather than 3.

Week 5 became Week 4.

I was on leave part of for week 4 (I had 4 weeks left over of paid leave, so I took 2 weeks to hang out with Elise, my Italian grandmother who came to see the baby, and then head back east).

Week 4

Tuesday: 6 miles, 10:30 pace, work neighborhood

Thursday: 7 miles @ 8:25 pace
I decided to run this tempo workout around the bay. I forgot my shuffle which wasn't ideal, and holy shit, is running tempos on the road much harder than on the treadmill. The training plan said 5 @ 8:04. I ended up with: 8:00, 8:02, 8:03, 8:10, 7:54. And then I let myself walk for a minute in the cool down mile. Good God, that hurt.

Saturday: 5 miles, 9:08.
Ran down the giant hill and back up. I miss living where I get a nice downhill finish. Instead I get my ass handed to me for .75 miles of 270 ft of climbing in the last mile.

Sunday: 18 miles @ 9:05
I ran with my old training partner, Nicole, and she made the miles tick by so fast! I missed her! But, boy, is running and talking harder than I remembered. That's gotta make me faster. Anyway, I was hurting a bit at the end (temps had crept up to the mid 70s and the breezes were hard to come by), and required a walk break in the last mile. Nicole hadn't run much since Boston to Big Sur, but considering my pace is slower than hers, she got through the 18, no problemo.

Week 5 - Back down!

In her party dress! $11 on clearance at Target ;-)

Tuesday: 7 miles @ 8:57
I was pretty damn happy with this run because I did the hill and managed under 9 pace.

Wednesday: 7 miles @ 9:01

Mission Bay. Not complaining about living in San Diego
Again with the pain in the ass hill. I squeezed this run in before we left for Baltimore. We were delayed 90 minutes at the airport because of huge thunderstorms and tornado watches out there. We get in the air, and then we are delayed IN THE AIR because of said storms. We did like 30-45 minutes of circles over Indiana. It was weird. And tiring. It was 1am Eastern by the time we got to the hotel and all that was open was McDonald's drive through. So I ate a double hamburger meal at 1am because Southwest doesn't even have food for purchase on flights. Lesson learned on that one.

Friday: 6 miles @ 9:05

I was determined to get as much of the scheduled miles in as possible so I ran at noon, in the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania. Holy humidity. I was the sweatiest mofo when I finished. I demolished the 20 ounces of Nuun I had with me. I also felt like I was dancing with death thanks to no good running routes in the area with shoulders or sidewalks. I was running down a country road with about half of a bike lane of shoulder.

So much for running in the shoulder. I guess you just deal with this if you live out in the country and have to train for a marathon.

Monday: 4.27 @ 9:18
I was supposed to run 7 miles on Sunday, but, seriously, I was lucky I got in the four and a quarter. I walked outside the hotel in Baltimore (Admiral Fell Inn, which is supposedly haunted, but we saw no funky spirits!) at 8am and practically melted right there on the spot. What time do you have to go out and run in Baltimore?!?! It was probably 80 degrees at that point with a shit ton of humidity and sunny. I ran up to Patternson Park, around, and then back where I added more miles running around the harbor. I pretty much finished 20 ounces running just 4 miles. I was muttering at stoplights about how I didn't understand how people trained here and how I didn't want to live in Baltimore (this was after saying, the previous night, that I liked the area and the brownstones townhouses, and that I could in fact live there. Yeah).

Sunday, June 8, 2014

St George Marathon Training - Week #3 Review

I'm always so damn late with these reviews!

Anyway. I got through this week, didn't seem especially easy. Not super hard, but certainly not easy.

SmartCoach's plan:

Tuesday: 6 miles @ 8:54
I had planned to run on the treadmill because I thought it was going to be hot. Then I left my phone convince me it wasn't THAT hot (it said it was 72*. Lies). So I went out on my new work run route - hilly like anything else around that area, 713 ft elevation gain. Turned out to be closer to 80* so it was a smidge miserable but I managed. I sucked down 20oz of Nuun.

Thursday: 7 miles @ 8:25 (2 mi of warm and 5 mile tempo)
Done on the treadmill, nothing interesting to note.

Saturday: 16.01 @ 9:03
I had to run long a day early thank to the Rock 'n Roll Marathon course coming through my neighborhood and usual running route. Around mile 11 in Mission Beach, I ran in Sarah (SkinnyRunner) who I haven't seen in a really long time. We chatted for 5 minutes or so and I told her I'd look for her on the course Sunday.

The last two miles of this long run were fairly brutal. It starts getting hot on the way to De Anza Cove and Crown Pointe Shores, so I was battling. And I was caked in salt at the end of it. I went through 40 ounces of Nuun. And I probably should have still taken salt tabs.

Sunday: Spectated SD RnR!
I live about a half mile from the course so we went down with baby E to check out the race! We thought we missed most of the leads including the women but as it turned out, none of the super fast runners showed up. So we saw the lead females. They just didn't look like your usual elite marathoner at a big city race. The winning time for the women (or even the men for that matter) wasn't all that fast.

Papa and E. spectating the race!

This was the #2 female. I didn't know at the time I took the pic.

Monday (following week): 5 mi @ 8:56
I had to make up for my missed easy run and I did not manage to get it done Sunday, so I squeezed it in Monday on the treadmill at work.

Friday, May 30, 2014

St George Marathon Training Week #2 Review

And just like that, week 2 was done, and now I'm in the middle/end of week 3.

Because I had already been running close to 40 mpw, the first two weeks felt kind of easy, with the exception of the 14 miler. I have not been running long, so whenever I get past 12 miles, I can feel the shallow base I have from taking a 7 month running hiatus.

The same little aches and pains exist that I had before I was pregnant. My left leg/hip continues to be an asshole. It's like all that time off did shit shinola. Clearly, whatever irks my leg is biomechanical.

Also, this week I decided to start taking calcium supplements because the monthly witch has yet to show her face (lactational amenorrhea). Better safe than sorry (really don't want to be sidelined with an sfx).


In case you care to see it, here is my training log


Plan: 7 miles @ 9:30
Actual: 7 miles @ 8:54
I ran around my work neighborhood which is hilly (goes down then up, which is not as fun as up then down). Because I'm nursing, anything more than 4 miles requires carrying hydration. I got through an entire 20 ounce bottle.


Plan: 6 miles, with 3x1mi at 7:32
Actual: Probably something similar to the above. I don't remember all the details because I was on the treadmill messing around with inclines and speeds a bit so I didn't bore myself to death. Total, 6 miles @ 8:26.

Rest (swapped with Sat)

Plan: 6 mi @ 9:30
Actual: 6 @ 9:16
I swapped Friday for Saturday so I didn't have to run at work. Not sure how long I'll be able to do this as the midweek runs get longer.

Plan: 14 @ 9:30
Actual: 14 @ 9:09
Went OK, but, man, am I ever going through water. Sure, it got a little toasty (like 72 at the end) but normally (meaning pre-baby, pre-food truck status) all I need is about 20 ounces of fluid. I drank 40. Luckily my routes have plenty of water fountains but I'm thinking when I get to 18 I might try on the big guns - my Nathan hydration vest that holds 70 ounces.

Total miles: 33.03

Another cool thing to note about the Garmin 220, it has some snazzy technology to determine your cadence! Now, I suspected I had a really high cadence, mostly because my legs are short and the only way I can get faster is if I speed up my turn over. My average cadence has been around 185. I am digging this new feature, and the bluetooth upload to the mobile app.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

St George Marathon Training Week #1 Review

I knew it was possible I'd get picked so, obviously, I didn't think it was that crazy to attempt 26.2 10 months post-baby. Maybe I'm delusional, but as of mid March, when I ran a 1:56 half under hot and hilly conditions, I figured it was possible I could BQ on the St George course. So I tossed my name into the hat.

Plus, I love Zion and we haven't gone to Bryce Canyon yet, so I figured worst case it was going to be a good trip to some very beautiful places.

As soon as I got that email, I did a quick Googling of marathon training plans and decided I'd stick with Runners World SmartCoach. I like the marathon plans it spits out - the half plans I don't like as much, but I'm usually in agreement with what it recommends for 26.2. And it doesn't have fixed weeks like 12 or 18. It's whenever you want to start, which means it's a 21 week training for me.

Also, I despise plans with lots of speed work. I've seen that I make really good progress with just running more miles. One day of speed work per week is plenty for me.

The day I got the email. I had already run 5 miles at lunch which was not on the training plan, so bonus miles. 5 miles easy @ 8:56 pace.

Training plan: 6 miles @ 9:32
Actual: 5 miles @ 9:10.

Since I had run 5 the day before, I cut it down to 5.

Training plan: Rest

Training plan: 7 miles with 5 miles at 8:10 pace.
Actual: 7 @ 8:30

I like to do speed work on the treadmill (lately I do a lot of runs on the 'mill because of time) because of the control over the pace, but I know it's easier to run on it, so I ran the 5 tempo miles at from 0-1%, varying the slope as I ran, and I also kicked up the speed a bit in the last 1.5 miles to 7.4 ending at 7.7. I know, tempo is the same speed, but it felt pretty easy and finishing a bit faster didn't feel that much harder.

Training plan: 6 miles @ 9:32.
Actual: Rest.

Since it was only 6 and it's easier to run on the weekends with the baby, I decided to shift it to Saturday morning.

Training plan: Rest
Actual: 6.27 miles @ 9:06

I ran down and then up the massive hill by my house (it's like 200+ feet gain in less than a mile - it's pretty steep. Not the steepest, though. There's another hill about a mile away that some cars would definitely scrape the front bottom bumper. Part of me wants to try to charge up it and see just how horrific it surely will feel).

Training plan: 12 @ 9:32
Actual: 12 @ 9:08

Decided not to run The Hill again, and started at Mission Bay, ran around Fiesta Island, and then added some more miles, running around Sea World.

Total miles: 35.28

Other things to note, my Garmin Forerunner 110 went mammaries up yesterday, so I had to use Map My Run on my phone for Saturday's run. I picked up the Garmin 220 from Road Runner Sports on Saturday because I have no retail patience, and after quickly researching, it was the best price, anyway, with my VIP discount.

I've only done one run with it, but so far it's pretty sweet. It's much lighter feeling than the 110. It vibrates on the mile splits, it locked on a satellite very fast (less than 30 seconds) and I apparently it can sync via Bluetooth? I don't care that much about the sync'ing though maybe I should try it. I need to do more research on all its nifty, snazzy features.

[In case anyone is wondering about the whole breast feeding thing.. During the week, if it's an hour or less, I run on the treadmill at work, or outside. It's usually about 90 minutes after I last pumped to empty, so it's totally comfortable. On weekends, for a shorter run, I will pump enough that I am comfortable (because normally in the morning, it's like a milk bonanza going on). For longer runs, I try to pump close to empty since I know I'll be gone longer. The Husband has the baby while I'm gone and feeds her if she gets hungry, otherwise, I feed her when I get home.]

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Running Update: Half Marathon #2 Post Baby

It's serious business moving monkeys around.

Also. She has more hair, and two teeth. She's definitely an Advanced Teether - the range to get the first bottom teeth 5-8 months. She's all: "I'm gonna get that shit done at 4.5!"

Anyway, so, running. It's been happening. I've been squeezing runs in at lunch during the work day, ranging from 4-6 miles, with one rest day. The longest I've run is 13.1 miles, 3 times. Two of them were races, St Patrick's Day Half Marathon, and then this past weekend I ran the Girls on the Go Half Marathon at Mission Bay, so, flat as a pancake. Though you have to run around Fiesta Island 1.5 times which is kinda boring. We were just lucky it wasn't a million degrees (like it is today! 96 degrees by the bay - WTF?!).

I was figuring I could go under 1:50 but I also had super shitty sleep during the week thanks to Tooth Number Two cutting through. I haven't looked at my splits, but I was averaging 8:20-8:30 the first 7 or so miles. Around mile 8 I just started picking it up. I remember seeing 8:11, 8:16, the last 4 or 5 miles were 7:50-8:10. I was getting side stitchy feelings that I had to push through towards the end, but I was getting pumped by the fact that I was running a healthy negative split and I picked off 3 people in the second half in a relatively small race. Official time was 1:47:56. 8:14 pace. 

Just under 7 minutes off my PR from January 2013.

Back in April, I decided to throw my name into the St George Marathon hat because I figured if I were going to take advantage of the Third Time's a Charm rule, I'd need to start entering. Well, surprise, surprise, I got picked.

So, in 21 weeks, while likely still breastfeeding, I will be running St George with the purpose of getting a BQ. Should be interesting.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Returning to Running

I wondered, towards the end of my pregnancy, if I really had loved running or if it just became a habit of sorts. Would I find that when I was struggling more and not cranking out PRs that I actually didn't love it? It worried me a bit because running had been such a huge part of my day-to-day life pre-baby.

With the c-section, I was sidelined a bit longer than I had anticipated, though I really had an easy recovery from the surgery. Nonetheless, I waited until 5 weeks which was a week earlier than the normal 6 week guideline.

At 5 weeks exactly, we went out with the Bob, Husband and I, to attempt 40 minutes of run-walk intervals.

Day 1: 40 minutes, run 1 minute, walk 1 minute
Day 2: 40 minutes, run 1.5 minutes, walk 1 minute
Day 3: 40 minutes, run 3 minutes, walk 1 minute
Day 4: 40 minutes, run 7 minutes, walk 1 minute
Day 5: rest
Day 6: 40 minutes, run 10 minutes, walk 1 minute - started pushing the Bob myself
Day 7: 40 minutes straight running.

By the end of the week, I had crawled up to around a 10:30 pace. My lungs felt completely fine. Never felt out of breath in any of the above. Legs? Not as happy. On Day 2, it felt as if my inner thighs hadn't been used in years. Very sore. Weirdly sore. After my rest day, though, all soreness was gone.

After that first week, I started going on in the morning with the Bob on my own, and then in the evenings when the Husband got home from work (my first week of running was his last week of leave), I would run with him. By week 2, I was up to 26 miles with average pace improving to low 10s/high 9s pushing the stroller.

At the end of week 2 I was both impressed and discouraged. If that makes any sense. I was impressed that I could run those paces considering I hadn't run since June of 2013 and also had a baby via c-section just 6 weeks earlier. However, I was discouraged when I compared my paces to what I was running in February of that same year. I'm writing this at 13 weeks out, and I'm still feeling a little discouraged and unsure as to when I'll be running close to my PR times again.

8 weeks postpartum, 3 weeks back to running: 

At the end of week 3, I decided I was going to test myself in a 10K. The course was flat, and according to my Garmin, slightly short. I had made a goal of breaking an hour which would be a personal worst, but, hey, less than 2 months earlier I had major surgery, so I was trying to be realistic.

I went out at a cardio effort that felt more like half marathon pace than 10K. I was concerned about my incision - I really didn't know how it would feel. I ended up running 53:32 (which with the course short, probably would have been around 55 minutes) which was not a personal worst! It's still 8 minutes slower than my PR, but, again, I told myself to have some perspective.

10 weeks postpartum:

I went back to work. At the end of my husband's leave, I ordered a treadmill on Amazon - the ProForm 995c. I was unsure whether I would really use it - I hear that often: the Dust Collector Treadmill.

Turns out it was a good purchase for me. Sometimes, it's hard to leave when I'm not sure when the baby will be hungry, have a poop-splosion, or I just have less time to deal with the Bob (because I don't run with the Bob from my house. I have a massive - no. really. massive hill if I intend to run anywhere from my house and I am not pushing 35-40 pounds of stroller and baby up hills if I don't have to. So I drive 3 minutes to flat running trails).

With the time change, it's now dark in the morning so if I want to squeeze in some miles before 7am, treadmill is my only option unless I want to run with the stroller in the dark. Which I don't, so hamster wheel it is.

Today, ~13 weeks postpartum:

I'm about 6 pounds from my prepregnancy weight. I'd like to get down to 110, another 4 pounds, while I'm nursing. Then worry about the last 2-4 pounds when I'm not asking my body to make baby food. But I'm not stressing terribly about the 110 number at this point. 114 ain't bad.

This past weekend I decided to run a half marathon (St Patrick's Half Marathon in El Cajon) with a goal of breaking 2 hours. Around mile 8, I seriously questioned if it would happen. I didn't pick the easiest race - it was pretty hilly. We had a 2 mile long climb from mile 8 to 10. It was also pretty warm - near 80 degrees when I finished. And I had only run 12 miles the weekend prior so the 13.1 was the longest I had run since May 2013.

I managed to pull it out with lots of bargaining with myself as I shuffled up the hill. I wanted to walk badly - my legs were aching! I haven't felt like that in a half marathon in recent memory. Like going back 3-4 years, I can't remember that feeling. It was akin to the end of a marathon. Clearly I need to continue working on my base. I finished 1:56:3x (don't remember exact number). Not a personal worst. I'll take it.

The key thing I've realized over the last 8 weeks, squeezing in two a days, finding time here and there to jump on the treadmill, is that I do, in fact, love running. Even if I'm not running as far and as fast as I used to. It's ok! At least I get to run!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Instead of paying attention to the Super Bowl, I figured I'd write about the Tiny Human.

I didn't have a "birth plan" except: avoid c-section. That was it. I didn't want a mirror to see the baby crowning (Good Lord. Just no). I fully planned to get an epidural when the pain got bad enough. If I got past my due date, inducing was fine by me. But as they say, birth plans get thrown out the window, and that was the same with mine even if it was almost non-existent.

Because I'm "old" I got to have weekly non-stress test appointments including ultrasounds measuring the amniotic fluid. At 36.5 weeks, I had an "olympic sized swimming pool" as the doctor put it, with 23 cm. The average number is 10-18cm. When you get to 30 cm, OBs will often induce early or by your EDD (estimated due date). I also was 0 dilated and 50% effaced. Basically not close to labor.

At 37.5 weeks, same deal. 0 dilated, 50% effaced. 24 cm of fluid. At 38.5 weeks I was 20 cm, no dilation. By 39.5 weeks, the fluid had decreased down to 14 cm, but again, no dilated and only 50% effaced. I was convinced I was going to have to be induced - my OB even scheduled me for the following week at 40 weeks 5 days. My due date 40 weeks, was Sunday, 12/15.

I decided to take matters into my own hands. My last day at work was 12/12. On 12/13, in addition to walking the dogs in the morning, I went down to the bay and walked 3 miles. I started squats throughout the day. Taking bromelain supplements (pineapple) from Trader Joe's. Went to Target, walked around picking up last minute items I might need while at the hospital. The following morning, 12/14, I was feeling a bit crampy and had some pinkish stuff (i.e. what is probably "bloody show"). I went for another walk around the bay with my husband and Dad around noon - another 2-3 miles. This time, I had to stop and squat every half mile or so because my back had started spazzing out. Turns out I was in early labor. I just thought my back was hurting from carrying around an extra 30 pounds.

The back pain moved to more of a menstrual cramp style pain. Now, I had Braxton Hicks contractions from 24 weeks on, every day. Sometimes every 6 minutes for several hours. Obviously never resulting in labor. So, these pains, while they hurt more than Braxton Hicks, I wasn't sure were actual labor. I started timing them and they were 3-4 minutes apart but they weren't getting any worse. So I convinced myself it wasn't labor. Around 4pm, more than 4 hours from when my back pain had started, I decided to time them again. They were getting to the point where if I was standing/walking, the pain would stop me in my tracks, but was still very manageable. At 4:30pm I told the Husband, "maybe we should pack a bag." About 10 minutes later, my Olympic sized swimming pool broke. Seriously. Grossest thing ever. I'll spare you the details.

For about 5 minutes I felt like a million bucks. I said to the Husband: "Maybe this is the calm before the storm." Holy Hell, yes it was. From that point on, contractions felt like the worst pain of my entire life.

We raced up to the hospital, I am still gushing water, sitting on a towel in the car. They get me into an L&D room ridiculously fast - probably because they can see that I am not handling the pain well. I immediately tell them I want an epidural and they move like wildfire to get my IV in, get my paperwork done, etc. So impressed. Before I get the epi, the midwife checks my cervix and that was probably the worst pain I have ever felt. It brought me to tears - like I could not stop myself from crying. The contractions, I could sort of bear down and grown/whine through. The cervical check? Nope. Excrutiating.

I am only at 1cm, almost 100% effaced. Seriously?!?!?!

The midwife tells me that she's sure once I get the epi, I'll dilate. Turns out she was right. Epi goes in (and it was relatively painless - epidural is the greatest thing ever) and one hour later I am dilated to 5-6cm. She was sure she would not see me the next morning when she came back for her next shift.

Turns out she was wrong.

Once I got to 6 cm, I stalled. No change for 2 hours. With my water broken, we had to get things moving, so Pitocin was started. It took another 9 or so hours to get to 10 cm. By the time I was ready to push, my water had been broken for about 14-15 hours. Often with that length of time, one's body temperature rises into "fever" territory. I was hovering just under 100F. At 101F, the baby will automatically be admitted to the NICU for 48 hours.

I proceed to push, for the first hour, it was not ever contraction possibly because the shift that was on was not very motivated because they were changing over during that first hour. My first midwife comes back, surprised to see me. We proceed to push every contraction. This goes on until the 3.5 hour mark. I am very aware of my temperature asking where its at when they take it. It gets as high as 100.4. The baby is handling the contractions fine but hasn't budged from station 0.5 or so. I am physically spent after 3.5 hours of pushing and decide that I can't possibly keep up that level of intensity for another hour and I would have to push that hard, or harder, if she hasn't moved. I don't know if she is stuck and decide that I want to avoid a NICU stay for her and tearfully throw in the towel, feeling like I am giving up. Everyone seems to be in agreement that c-section is the best bet. I was feeling like my body had failed me.

It takes another hour for the on-call doctor to see me and get prepped for surgery. In this time, my temp has risen to 101.6F.

I cannot tell you how awful I felt at this point. One of the main reasons I decided to go with a CS was to avoid the NICU. And now I couldn't even do that. Going into surgery knowing that your baby won't be with you when you get out very much sucks.

Surgery was uneventful for me. The only thing that freaked me the fuck out was that they over medicated my spinal. I could barely move my arms - they were numb up to my shoulders. Basically I felt mostly paralyzed from the neck down. They pulled her out and she had a pretty good cone head from the pushing - and for the record, babies look disgusting when they come out. They are not cute.

At this point, I knew something wasn't 100% right because it seemed to take a long time to get her to cry at all. Apparently, they had to use the c-pap for a bit to get her to breathe and her first Apgar score was only a 4, followed by a score of 9 at 5 minutes. So she completely recovered, but clearly there was both a long labor and possibly an infection affecting her. They propped her up on my chest for a few minutes, wrapped up, but I had no strength in my mostly numb arms from the spinal. I couldn't hold her which was an awful feeling.

She went to the NICU and the rest of the day was a bit of a blur. I don't remember how many hours passed before I got to see her. The next day we got the news they were going to keep her for a full 7 days for antibiotic treatment because she was having a hard time regulating her temperature and had 2 decels which the doctors suspect was from infection.

The rest of the week went by both quickly and slowly, if that makes any sense. It felt like forever before they would be discharging her but it also felt like a blur. I was discharged after 4 days (though I was probably ready to go after 2 days - I wasn't taking any pain meds by the next day and was walking around, back and forth to the NICU). Thankfully, this hospital had a boarding option on their top floor for parents with babies in the NICU. I was able to stay in a pared down hospital room for the remaining 3 nights so that I could nurse her. It was an exhausting, sleepless week.

By day 4, Elise was perfectly fine. She had gotten back to birth weight, 7lbs 3 oz, by day 5 (by day 8 at the pediatrician, she was 7lbs 10 oz and 20 inches, up .5 inches in length in a week). Day 7, exactly one week after she was born, we got to take her home.

So yeah.

I had prepared myself for the potential of a c-section because I'm a small person (5'0") with a tall husband (6'2"). I figured she might not be small. I did not prepare myself for the NICU when the whole pregnancy the baby and myself had been nothing but completely healthy with zero complications.

Today she is 7 weeks, fitting in 3 months clothing, and probably 11lbs (she was 10.5 on my scale earlier this week). A big 'ol baby (60-70th percentile) when compared to me! As for me, I'm still about 8lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight. I go back to work at 10 weeks (I've got 3 weeks left).  I've started running again and even managed 32 miles last week. Slow miles, but miles, nonetheless. I've dialed back my expectations, but I did register for a 10K this coming weekend which will likely be a personal worst, but that's ok!