October 20, 2017

pregnancy round two: how things are different this time

When I first found out I was pregnant with Ulla, I had grand dreams of being one of those women who had a "belly only" pregnancy,  ran up until the moment they gave birth, and only gained 25 pounds. Then I spotted around 7 weeks and became so terrified of miscarrying that I stopped running or doing really any form of exercise. Then morning sickness hit and I basically lived off of hot carbs and Taco Bell soft taco supremes.

It was winter by the time I hit the second trimester, bringing snow and the holidays. We didn't own a scale and I was just trusting my body to gain whatever weight it needed to. Um, bad idea. I looked back on my prenatal visits and between Christmas and the end of January, I gained 18 pounds. EIGHTEEN. They recommend 1-1-1/2 pounds a week, so 18 pounds in 7 weeks was overkill, and what likely led to me gaining 50 pounds overall.

I did become more active during the end of my pregnancy, when all I could really do was waddle, though there were some hill sprints around 41 weeks to try to induce labor. But I didn't feel good, I didn't feel strong, and despite having a relatively easy time with the pushing part of labor, my overall labor experience was long and exhausting.

I vowed that things would be different this pregnancy, and they have been.

First, the timing on this pregnancy was totally different, which has helped. I've been able to stay way more active outside during the summer, and the cooler weather of fall has been glorious. 

And we own a scale. I'm absolutely not a slave to it but it helps keep things in check, especially those first 12 weeks when technically you're not supposed to gain much weight, but you also crave hot carbs and vomit at the thought of anything you normally eat. 

I also haven't quit running this time around. I actually ran a half marathon four days before I found out I was pregnant, and was able to run about 10-15 miles a week until around 20 weeks. I started to get intense Braxton Hicks when I tried to run for extended periods so now I do run/walk intervals, and on days when that feels like too much, I just walk.

Overall, my goal is to have dedicated workouts at least five times a week. Online workouts have been a lifesaver! I absolutely love the Baby Bump Prenatal Series, and it gives me zero excuse to not get a workout in.

Even on days when I think my face looks super round, or when I loathe the cellulite that dimples my arms (why?!?!?!), I'm so grateful for a healthy body that is growing a healthy baby, and am hopeful that all of this work will pay off in a shorter labor! 

30 weeks and my running jacket still zips! Kind of.

August 11, 2017

baby on board

This is the first time I've logged on to this blog in the last six+ months and was greeted by my Pensacola Beach Run 10k recap that I wrote and then never published. Oops. So apologies if that super delayed post- and this one- are both appearing in your feed.

It's been a while, so to recap the last six months, here are Major Life Changes, in bullets:
  • I'm pregnant with Baby #2, due December 24th! 
  • We moved from a small town to an even smaller town in April. It's closer to family and further from the Cities, which are both bonuses in my book. 
  • The house we bought is a total fixer upper and progress has been s l o w. We've been debating whether we want to flip it and move to the actual country (so we can have animals and let our kids run naked without judgement). Either way, we wouldn't be moving again until the spring, but this decision has stunted our unpacking progress because why unpack if you're just going to pack again? 
  • Carl the cat is no longer with us. As in, we don't know where he is, but he's presumed dead. He disappeared a few weeks after we moved and hasn't been seen since. Ulla still prays for him to come home but at this point, I'm more meh. After all,  he did try to kill me once.
So those are the major life things. In running news, I'm still running! I was trying to average around 15-20 miles pre-pregnancy and have been running around 10 miles a week since. I actually ran a half marathon four days before I found out I was pregnant!

Gina and I post-half marathon, four days before I found out I was pregnant

I did not run when I was pregnant with Ulla so this is all new territory for me. My plan is to stay as active as possible for the duration of my pregnancy, mostly so I don't gain 50lbs like last time (true story) and have a shorter labor. So far, so good.

17 weeks pregnant

19 weeks pregnant
Last weekend I ran our local 5k  in 25:13 and actually placed third in my age group! My age group medal and post-race orange slice was promptly stolen by a member of my cheer squad.

20 weeks pregnant

February 3, 2017

race report: pensacola beach run 10k

The baby is napping so I'm going to try to write a brief recap because this is already way late.

The good: I ran a 10k PR, had pretty even splits, and somehow ended up being first overall female. My time was 44:37, a 7:12 pace, and my splits were 7:10, 7:14, 7:19, 7:14, 7:12, 7:14 (and 7:11 pace for the last .2).

The bad: I don't feel like I ran the time I was capable of running.

The 5k and the 10k were run together, and both were out and back courses. I did my best to stay controlled during the first mile, and I hit it exactly on when  I went through the first mile in 7:10. I planned to pick it up progressively over the next 2 miles and then drop the hammer at the turnaround but after that first mile, I just couldn't find a rhythm. My breathing felt awkward, my stride felt off... just everything felt awkward. I had read something the night before about letting go of expectations and just enjoying the moment, so that became my mantra. I tried to not focus on my pace and mentally started listing all the things I was grateful for about the day, about running, about my life. I think I got a little bit too off in la-la land because my third mile was especially slow.

I wasn't really paying attention as I ran through the turnaround but as I started passing the 10k runners still coming through, many were cheering for me and I heard things like "first female!" I had noticed how far behind me the next woman was, and knew with how good I was feeling, the chances of her catching me were slim. I was still running alone and couldn't really muster up the energy to run faster, though I felt like I could've held that pace for longer.

Once we got closer to the finish line, there were a lot of 5k walkers that I had to dodge and it sort of zapped any energy I had for a finishing kick. Plus, the only 10k runners within striking distance were dudes and I didn't want to be a jerk and chick them in the finishing chute. (haha)

I felt good when I was done, evidence that I could have run harder. The second place girl found me and congratulated me. She herself was a mom of THREE kids (and about 7 years younger than me!) and had also run a PR. She was so nice and we chatted for a while.

There were supposed to be awards for top overall finishers but no one could really tell us when that would be happening. We ended up waiting over an hour and a half but I finally got my tumbler medal.

my sisters and I waiting for the awards

my winning mug!

My plan now is to continue running at my same intensity until there is a reason to tone it down (aka a baby). I have my sights set on a race in March, and there is a 5k or a 10 mile option. I'll probably wait to register

January 6, 2017

2017 goals

I haven't made any New Year's resolutions for the past two years, mostly because I was pregnant/had a baby so "adapt to life" seemed to pretty much suffice. And honestly, if there needs to be change or if I set a new goal, I don't feel the need to wait until the new year or the start of a new week to begin working toward something. I know, shocking words, coming from a procrastinator.

But it's January, a time for new beginnings, or at least a natural pause for reflection and planning. Here's the 2016 reflection part: I started to feel "normal" again about mid-way through the year. I ran Grandma's Half on minimal training, mostly because running still felt so challenging and I never found a groove. I didn't run much from June to September. Something clicked when I picked things back up in October. It just felt right. And I've been pleasantly surprised with how fast my fitness has come back, now that I have some consistency to my training.

Now for 2017 planning: Looking ahead, I'm on track to run a 10k PR (which isn't saying much, since my old one was set after about 5 weeks of half-assed training) and if I can get my mind on board, I'm pretty sure I can run close to 43 minutes.

After the 10k, I'd like to take a few weeks of running around 30 miles a week while incorporating at least two strength workouts. From there I'll ramp mileage up to around 40 miles per week. I got into Grandma's Half again and my plan is to continue to train for a half PR with one major caveat: getting pregnant again. After the 10k next week, we'll be officially back on the baby train so there's a decent chance I will be pregnant before June. I don't know what it will be like to be a pregnant runner, so I'll adjust accordingly when the time comes and potentially just run Grandma's for fun.

Other goals:
1. Drink more water. Some days I do really well with intake, and other days I don't pee until 5pm. I'm still nursing pretty regularly throughout the day so I really need to work on this.
2. Stretch/foam roll more. Because #recovery.
3. Get back into yoga. I would love to take a class at least once per week but the nearest studio is a 20 minute drive from my house so it will require some finagling to get everything in.
4. Race more. This is totally dependent on the pregnancy situation but I'd like to run a few 5k/10ks as part of training. There is something so different about racing as opposed to a general training run. Plus, I'm pretty sure I can demolish my 5k time from October and have a new post-baby PR.

December 31, 2016

6:xx, the mark of the beast

6:xx. A sub-7 pace. I have no idea why I have such a mental block about this. Maybe because the only time I run sub-7's is for 5ks  or speed workouts. Maybe it's because the only time I ran sub-7's for longer than 3.1 miles was the time during Ragnar Relay when it was my last leg that was mostly downhill, when I was probably in the best running shape I've ever been in. Either way, in two weeks I'm going to attempt to run a 10k at a sub-7 pace, and it's freaking me out.

To back up, I've scrapped the 3M Half in Austin on January 22 in favor of going to see my sister in Florida before she gets deployed. Not wanting all my training to go to waste, I found a race down there on the 14th, the Pensacola Beach Run. Yes, there is a half marathon option, but I was going to be pushing it to run a PR on the 22nd, so to lose a week of training would be needlessly killing my body.

So the new plan is race the 10k where I'm all but guaranteed a new PR. My old PR is pre-baby but post-fall off the running wagon so I'm sort of guessing at what to shoot for time-wise. For a little guidance, I used the McMillan Running Calculator to predict what my 10k pace would be IF I was in half marathon PR shape, and it's telling me I should be able to run a 43:13 (a 6:57 pace). It's a stretch to think that I'm in PR shape, having only been running consistently for four months, barely cracking 30 miles per week, having not slept through the night in over 20 months, nursing a toddler, etc. etc. And seriously, it sounds impossible to me to hold a 6:57 pace for 6.2 miles. Like IMPOSSIBLE.

In attempt to at least *try* to convince my mind/body to do this, I ran a workout last week that was 6 x 1 mile at 10k pace with 4 min jog recovery and (knock on all the wood) it went amazingly well. Mind you it was on the treadmill, but it seriously was getting easier with each repeat. I read somewhere that you can expect to run 5-6 seconds per mile faster during a race than you run during training runs (makes sense, adrenaline and all) so there is hope!

Running highlights the past few weeks:
1. Having a Run Streak of 22 days, before I broke it when Ulla got the stomach flu. So. Much. Vom.

2. Outdoor ten miler on Christmas Eve on a new route I found. LOVED it.
snowy run

 3. Getting a new Garmin for Christmas from my dad! I was so, so surprised.  I'm still getting used to all the bells and whistles. It's a big upgrade from my current Garmin (I don't even know the model, it's been discontinued for years). I feel so fancy!
Garmin Forerunner 235

More to come in 2017. Happy New Year, kids. Stay safe, stay smart. :)

December 12, 2016

streaking and kara goucher

Truth: I've never streaked before. Streaking, as in run streak. (Naked streaking has been checked off my bucket list if you count that time I skinny dipped in the Le Sueur public pool and hightailed it back to the car.)

Now, thanks to the Runner's World Run Streak challenge, I am on Day 19 of a Run Streak. I had been running five days a week for training, so I thought "what's two more?" and jumped in. Most days, the hardest part of running is just getting out the door and making the time, and the Run Streak provides a little extra motivation.

Training has been going well, though I just switched up my training plan from Hal Higdon's Intermediate Half Marathon II (whew!) to Kara Goucher's 10 week plan.  Because KARA. And not to be a running snob, but I feel like I'm a little past Hal Higdon. After my giant running break with no real training, I kind of felt like I needed to start over. Now, after a few solid months under my feet, I'm feeling good and more like a runner again.

Running highlights these past few weeks:
1. Running a 10k on the treadmill that was roughly 30 seconds off my real-life-outdoor-race-10k-PR that I set back in 2013. Pre-baby. I feel like this puts me in a decent position for Austin in January.
2. Building back up to nearly 30 miles per week and NOT getting injured! It's been slow process but I'm glad I didn't rush it.

Because it's December in MN, finding road races (or even running outside) can be challenging, so I'm a little nervous about the majority of training being done on the treadmill but c'est la vie. 

And if I think about the actual chances that I'll run a real PR (which is anything under 1:36:25), I begin to question why I even run and feel like never getting up from the couch.

So for now I'll try to shut off my brain and take it one day and one workout at a time.

October 31, 2016

race report: St. Peter Halloween 5k

On Saturday I ran my first 5k in 2-1/2 years. In a costume. And I stuck to my race plan. And it wasn't my slowest 5k. In fact, it was faster than the last 5k I ran, pre-baby! Nevermind that my average pace (7:22) was my half marathon PR pace from 2011- any my 10k PR pace in 2013. Ironic.

The race is known as the "largest and fastest parade of costumes in southern Minnesota" so I felt it only appropriate to dress up. I Googled costume ideas and settled on the Cookie Monster which seemed easy enough to make at home. I procrastinated on making it until the night before the race, when I discovered that the fabric glue I bought wasn't holding. Enter my savior husband and his suggestion of the construction adhesive Liquid Nails. Worked like a charm.


I woke up early on Saturday and snuck out of bed to get ready while Ulla slept. I woke her up at the last minute and loaded her into the car for the trip to my mom's. She never fell back asleep and was happy to be at Oma's.

I got to packet pick up early, wanting to beat the crowds, and grabbed my race number and t-shirt, then went to my favorite coffee shop for a little pre-race snack. I ran a 2 mile warm up and did a few drills, got costumed up, and lined up in the corral about five minutes before the race started.

My race plan was to stay slow my first mile, then hammer the next two. I kept checking my watch the first mile because it's so easy to get caught up with everyone and have a fast effort seem easy, and sure enough, I was a running a sub-7 pace when I first checked my watch. I immediately backed off and went through the first mile in 7:27, right where I wanted to be.

Then we hit hills. And not just a few. There were a lot. I concentrated on maintaining my effort and not my pace as we rolled through a neighborhood. Every time I thought we were to the top, I would see another hill in front of us. My second mile was 7:44.

What goes up must come down and while my legs were tired from climbing, I focused on staying relaxed and loose, trying to use each downhill for a rest. Mile 3 was 7:06, significantly faster than my first mile and the first time EVER that my first mile was not my fastest in a 5k. I finished with a little left in the tank and felt great.

My Garmin said 22:42 but my official results (gun time) were 22:50. I'm happy with it. The race served its purpose of honing in training paces for the next few weeks, before I race another 5k in November. Honestly, when I think about the shape I used to be in and how much work it will take to get back there, everything feels way too overwhelming. But all I can do is take it a day at a time and just do what I can. Constant forward progress and all that.