fit pregnancy, pregnancy, Running

Pregnancy Running Grievances

Running while pregnant can be pretty uncomfortable. I have not faced any major issues, but below are my top complaints.

Decreasing Speed: I had no idea how early on in my pregnancy I would start to slow down. I thought it would happen in the later months, but for me, it was almost immediate. Before pregnancy, when I would go out for an easy run, I would run about 9:30 minute miles. Now my easy runs are coming in at around 12 minute a mile and I get slower each time I go out. The decreased speed really bothered me at first, especially before I started to show. I had the false notion that people were judging me. I still have to constantly remind myself why I am slow and I try my best not to look at the clock.

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Before and After 😦

Increased Thirst: I have been thirsty all the time! This isn’t just occurring when I am running. It is something I face when I am just sitting at my desk or at home doing nothing. I have also found if I do not drink enough water, my hands and feet swell slightly. I have started carrying Gatorade with me on my long runs because water alone isn’t cutting it now. I also try to run in areas near my home with drinking fountains so I can have both.

 

Pelvic pain: Pelvic pain is by far the most annoying aspect of pregnancy I have had to face. I can’t really even explain how this horrible sensation feels because I’ve never experienced anything like it before, but it is an absolute nuisance! Running doesn’t aggravate this problem very much though and it is at its worst when I am trying to sleep.

Increased Urination: I constantly feel like I have to pee (even when I don’t actually have to). On my last 12 mile run I had to stop to use the restroom twice. I would have stopped more if there weren’t so many tourists out by the time I was able to run.

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DC, Fitness, run, runner, Running

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler Race Review-23 Weeks Pregnant

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler Race Review-23 Weeks Pregnant

postrace

Post-race with my husband

I have not been writing much lately because my husband and I recently found out big news- we are expecting. My first trimester was rough both physically and mentally, but staying active helped me tremendously. I spoke with my doctor and I am allowed to continue training. I just have to be careful, self-aware, and take everything slowly. I was considering completely scrapping the race schedule I had planned for the year. Instead, I figured it was worth a try to at least register for the events I wanted to participate in and run on race day only if I felt up to it. I was feeling good on Saturday and my training had been going well so I gave the 10 Miler a shot. I am very happy to have had this experience.

Before I found out about the pregnancy, I had hoped to run this race at a 9m/mi pace or faster.  I knew immediately that having a goal at this point was not wise, and even though I am still fairly small, running is MUCH HARDER. My hips are achy and I just don’t feel like I can move very fast, even when I am putting forth the effort.

This race was very different compared to my past experiences. I took restroom breaks and even walked periodically. I also tried my hardest to just take in my surroundings and remove my mind from focusing on time.

PROS: This was my second time running the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler and it is definitely an impressive and well organized event. It is friendly to all skill levels and I highly recommend it to any runner! There are so many good things about this race and I am only going to touch on a few of them. There is certainly a reason this event is a bucket list item for so many runners.

Course: The race course is beautiful and flat. In my opinion, this alone makes the Cherry Blossom run worthwhile. Last year the blossoms were at their peak during the race, so it was a bit disappointing that most of them had blown off from the storm. Even with this, the course was still very visually pleasing. I recommend running this event to all runners. It is well worth a trip to DC!

Volunteers: It was freezing on race day and the wind was extremely strong. I was so happy to be greeted with kindness at each water stop and at the finish line. The individuals who came out to volunteer on a day like that have hearts of gold!

Adaptability: The organizers of this race are ready for anything! In 2015 they had to deal with a last minute course change due to a traffic accident. This year they had awful weather to work around.

Environment:  The race environment was very positive, much like last year. There were a lot more spectators last year, but there were still plenty of individuals cheering for the runners. Even though I was extremely slow, I still felt supported.

CONS: The only complaints I have about the race were related to the weather and the difficulty of running while pregnant. The race organizers warned us regarding many of the changes they would be making the night before so they did not come as a shock. Below are some more of the specifics I noticed.

Race signage:  The race organizers informed the night before the race that signage would be removed for safety reasons.  This was a pain in some aspects, but I was happy to know about it in advance.  The removal of the split time clocks was actually a good thing for me. I am a pretty competitive person, so the lack of knowing how fast I was going was actually healthy for me since I am trying to take things easy.  Had I been able to see my progress, I may have pushed myself.

Despite the positive situation for me surrounding the split time clock removal, the lack of signage produced some anarchy in the start corrals. I could not personally find where I was supposed to start, so I eyeballed the field and ended up just jumping in. I ended up around primarily people who were running at a similar pace, but there were some people who were much faster and I could tell they were frustrated. Some of these individuals tried to speed by and weave in and out of the slower runners. In many cases they were a bit frightening. I was afraid of being tripped or knocked down at times.

Water stops: I recall more water stops being available last year. I think there were only 2 or 3 this time around. I am assuming this was weather related, but I was extremely concerned about the fact that I felt extreme thirst at times and I was instructed to keep well hydrated.  I am planning on running the Pittsburgh Half Marathon in May if things continue to go well for me. I now plan on wearing a hydration belt to prevent issues like this from reoccurring.

Restrooms-Let me start by saying that I have never used the bathroom midrace before, so I don’t really know what porta-potty situations are typically like. This time things were different. I had to stop, twice and felt a bit desperate at times. Despite my lack of mid-race bathroom break experience, I thought the restroom options seemed to be lacking in this race. This certainly could just be a complication coming from running 10 miles while pregnant, nevertheless, I thought the lines seemed unreasonably long. Another problem was a bit more disturbing:  I saw several men stop to urinate behind trees. Not something anyone wants to see on the National Mall.

Cherry Blossom Nigel

Sir Nigel proudly wearing my medal

 

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Running

Fall Overview

I have not taken the initiative to blog in quite some time. I had to take a little time off from running due to plantar fasciitis, and I have not done any racing since Pittsburgh. I am gearing up for some exciting things this fall though. I plan to run in the Navy 5 Miler, the Army 10 Miler, and my personal favorite race, the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation Race for Research 5K. Below is an overview of what I have planned.

Fall Overview

Navy 5 Miler, September 20th: I will be running the Navy 5 Miler this weekend. I have never done this race (or any of the military races) so I am very excited about this. I am also excited to take my husband to the expo. He has never been to one and I am hoping this will get him excited about running.

Army 10 Miler, October 11th: I plan to take it easy on this run. I signed up for it when registration opened up and my training progress isn’t where I thought it would be. I’m just going to take it easy and enjoy the race. I am excited for the race atmosphere and to support our military!

Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation Race for Research, November 15th: I don’t typically like to raise money. I’m happy to give money and time to help others, I’m just not super comfortable asking friends or family for their hard earned cash. This cause is very near and dear to me though, so I will be running in this race and doing what I can to raise awareness and bring in donations in for the MMRF. My dad has Multiple Myeloma, which is an incurable blood cancer. The proceeds from this race go directly to finding a cure. The MMRF has helped double patient survival and I know their work has directly impacted the quality of care he has received. You can donate to our team by visiting http://support.themmrf.org/site/TR/TeamForCures/General?team_id=36490&pg=team&fr_id=2173

A photo of my family from the MMRF Race last year

A photo of my family from the MMRF Race last year

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Running

Pittsburgh Half Marathon!!!

Officially Runners of Steel

Officially Runners of Steel

On Sunday, I completed my first half marathon in one of my favorite cities – Pittsburgh! Let me first say that it was incredible to have the opportunity to run in downtown Pittsburgh. Although I grew up in the country, I have always associated this city with home and a lot of hometown pride. The people and the culture in this city are one of a kind, and I am grateful to have grown up in this special region. The crowds and volunteers here did not disappoint as they cheered for the runners in a true Pittsburgh fashion. This was one of the most exciting things about the race and they definitely made a difficult and hilly course less daunting.

I am extremely excited to write up my race recap for the Pittsburgh Marathon and let everyone yinz know about my experience. There were definitely some things I could improve upon, but I am still very happy about accomplishing this.

Expo

My sister and I visited the expo on Saturday afternoon. I had never been to an expo before and it was honestly pretty overwhelming. I did purchase some Pittsburgh shirts (which I was very happy with) and we stayed for quite a while looking at the booths and exhibits. We switched from corral D to corral C on race day and it was extremely quick and painless. My sister ordered her shirt a size up since they were extremely tight last year and it ended up being far too large. She was unable to switch it out for a smaller size – which was disappointing. I also heard from a lot of people who were unhappy about the colors of the shirts. Women were given pink shirts and men received green ones. I didn’t dislike the pink ones, but I can see why people were upset about this notion that women would be happier with a pink shirt.

My shirt from the expo - Pittsburghese

My shirt from the expo – Pittsburghese

Miles 1-3

The first few miles of the race were great. My sister and I were in corral C since we had switched from D, but we actually could have started in either corral based on our finish time. The starting line and the first two miles were congested so it was impossible to pass people, but that wasn’t a huge problem for me since it was my first half and I wasn’t trying to pass people (or go for a PR). My sister and I ran together and we initially started with a pace group. We decided pretty early on we wanted to do our own thing and keep our own pace – which may have been a mistake – but we were still pleased with our overall time. After leaving the group, we tried to maintain a comfortable pace, but it was somewhat hard with all the adrenaline and excitement.

Miles 4-8

Miles 4-8 went by like a breeze. I used my runkeeper app to track my speed and this part of the race was, by far, my best. There were plenty of aid stations and I was still feeling pretty good throughout this part of the race. By this point we had ventured up a number of hills, but even with my lack of hill training, it was still manageable.

Miles 9-12

In all honesty, I was pretty comfortable until about mile 9. My feet started to hurt at that point and, although the rest of my body felt great and my energy levels were fine, things started to get rough. I have been battling plantar fasciitis throughout my training, and last week my work schedule kept me away from doing my typical pre-race routine. I usually have a strict regime of yoga, ice application, epsom salt soaks, and various stretching exercises to keep plantar fasciitis pain at bay. But I had several nights where I was at the office from early morning to late in the evening. I did not have time to properly stretch that week or even do light running. Coupled together, this made miles 9-12 of the race extremely uncomfortable. The hills were also taking their toll at this point. I had been training in DC – which is relatively flat – and I was ill prepared for the hills of Pittsburgh, despite my efforts during training. One final note about this portion of the race – I fully dispute the claims made by E-Z Pass regarding their portion of the race being the “flattest mile on the course.” Mile 11 was THE WORST!

The final stretch
My adrenaline rush returned at this point and I picked my pace back up a little bit (I was barely trudging through miles 9-12). Even though my feet still felt awful (and I wanted to take my shoes off and soak my feet) I was able keep going until the finish. I loved that this part of the race was downhill.

Overall

Half1

Nigel was impressed as usual-Even after we presented him with my medal.

I had a great time at the race. It was wonderful having my sister by my side for my first half marathon. We had a great time visiting over the weekend and hitting up the expo. During the race she was an expert motivator and, even when I started to get negative, she encouraged me. My sister could have cut a few minutes off of her time if she had ditched me, but I am so thankful she stuck around. I was not completely happy with my time, but still extremely satisfied to have finished this race. Our final time was 2:10 (9:59/mi pace). I ran my 10 miler quite a bit faster, but I attribute that difference to the hill situation and my lack of energy from a tough week at work.

I have spent this week recovering and feel pretty good now – I have even started some light training again. I would definitely recommend the Pittsburgh Half Marathon to any runner. It was an extremely positive atmosphere and the people of Pittsburgh work very hard to make this a positive experience. As a caveat however, I would advise anyone hoping to complete this race to focus their hill training. That was my biggest struggle.

I also want to extend a special thank you to my sister’s friends for their hospitality and allowing us to stay with them. We would not have been able to do the race without you!

Officially Runners of Steel!

We were all smiles at the end!

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Running

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler Race Recap

With my cheering section after the race

With my cheering section after the race. Nigel was clearly unimpressed.

I have not posted a single thing to this blog in months, but I definitely felt compelled to come back to it after running the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler. I initially signed up for the race since the distance and timing fell perfectly into my Pittsburgh Half Marathon Training, but this ended up being a wonderful experience in itself.

Let me begin by saying that I was pretty nervous for the race. Until race day, I had never attempted a 10 mile run. I am working myself up for Pittsburgh and last week I ran 9 miles, but I was still on edge because this was a new distance and if I failed miserably there would be witnesses. Race day was a blast though and things went pretty well.

I attempted to begin the run with a pace group from Gold’s Gym just to be certain I would finish strong. I decided that I wanted to aim for the 10:00 min/mile group since that is normally a good conversational pace for me, but I ended up getting restless part way into mile 2 and chose to leave the group. It was wonderful to have the group at the beginning of the race though because things were pretty congested at the start and our pacer was fantastic. She worked hard to ensure that everyone stayed on pace and I don’t think I would have been as aggressive on my own moving through the crowds.

After I left the group and started to feel warmed up, I chose to slowly increase my speed as things moved on. I still wanted to be comfortable since my ultimate goal is the Pittsburgh Half on May 3rd and I did not want to risk injuring myself. I was pretty pleased with my pace and still felt energized at the end of the course. My splits according to my RunKeeper App are included below.

RunKeeper Splits

RunKeeper Splits

The scenic views throughout the race were gorgeous and I loved running through the cherry blossoms, particularly near Haines Point. I think I will take some of my long runs around that area in the future if I can figure out how to get there when the roads are not closed off. I also loved that they had music along the course. I especially enjoyed the drum line towards the end of the race, where the motivation was especially important. I was also extremely happy that the race course was relatively flat, but I am pretty worried for Pittsburgh – since it is such a hilly city compared to DC.

Overall, this was a very positive experience and I hope to do it again next year. The only disappointment on race day was due to an accident along the race course that required a separate investigation. As much as a half-mile was cut out of the course due to this incident. A bit of a bummer, but the race organizers handled it very well and executed their backup plan with ease. I had also heard rumblings about doughnuts being available at the finish line, but failed to find them anywhere. Despite coming out doughnut-less, and half a mile short of the 10 mile distance, I was super-impressed with everything!

Eating a banana and not a doughnut </3

Eating a banana and not a doughnut </3

If you are on the fence about entering the lottery for this race, many other individuals have blogged about their experiences. Most have been overwhelmingly positive. One of my favorite running bloggers – Courtney of Eat Pray Run D.C. – has a great recap on the race. The Cherry Blossom 10 Miler also has a Race Recap Party with tons of great blogs you should check out. PA friends – if you enter the race lottery next year and get in, you are welcome to stay with us!

1. http://eatprayrundc.com/2015/04/12/cherry-blossom-ten-miler-race-recap/

2. http://blog.cherryblossom.org/cherry-blossom-race-recap-party/

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beagle, cold, DC, Fitness, run, runner, Running

Running After Illness…My Epic Failure

NigelandI

Bad week for running but great company

I went for my first run on Sunday after being sidelined for a week with a cold. I tried to keep the run short and quick, but to be honest with you; I was slightly disappointed in my performance. Breathing was definitely still a challenge despite feeling a lot better and I was forced to use my sports bra as a Kleenex dispenser. Even though I knew my first run back would be a challenge, I still ran significantly slower than I even anticipated I would. I kept a 9:05 pace. I was hoping to keep it under 9:00 since I am still recuperating, so I guess I wasn’t that far off, but I still felt disappointed.

I decided to give it a shot again this morning and I did even worse! I was less congested, breathing was easier, and it was a beautiful day outside. Despite all of that, I just couldn’t get moving. I was extremely slow and kept a 9:36 pace, which was very discouraging to me, but in addition to my slow pace, I stopped early too. I usually try to make my morning weekday runs the distance of a 5K race and add more distance as time allows, but today I only went 2.80 miles. There is a store near my home that sells flowers and they already have their Christmas trees out (not okay…). One had fallen down and blocked the entire sidewalk. Instead of redirecting myself and pushing forward, I used the down tree as an excuse to end my run and go home.

I know some super tough people who are able to work out despite being ill and I thought that maybe with all of this internal willpower I have right now that I could too. I was wrong. I am clearly not someone with that ability and right now I am just hoping that I bounce back quickly and that I do not lose too much of the progress I made over the summer and fall months. I plan to do yoga tomorrow morning for a little extra rest and hopefully my next run will be more successful!

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beagle, coldweather, DC, Fitness, run, runner, Running

Cold Weather Running Survival Plan

It is officially cold out and I hate it! I have been sick since Monday (which I blame on the rapid temperature drop) so I have been resting. My ability to breathe has been so messed up that even light exercise is out of the question. Once I recover, I do have an action plan to try to stay active.

Nigelsnuggle

Even Nigel knows that winter is the worst!

One would think that as a transplant from the Pittsburgh area I would thrive in DC’s slightly warmer climate; however this has not been the case in years past. I have never been an individual who enjoys the cold and this is sadly the point in the year where I usually I fall off of the wagon and break out the blankets. I call it my hibernation period. I am extremely determined to be better this year, which is why I am taking some steps to prevent this yearly hiatus.


I already have some cold weather gear, but I decided to beef up my cold weather wardrobe a bit. I recently went to TJ Maxx and purchased two pairs of fleece lined running tights, a pair of thin gloves, and a thicker fleece lined pair for when it gets really cold out. I was able to walk out spending under $100 on all of those things, along with a few extra items (body wash and fancy chocolates). I was extremely proud because a good pair usually goes for over $80 and I could see high original prices on the pieces I purchased.


It was definitely a challenge for me to find the right fit in a pair of running tights. I am on the short side but I have an hourglass figure, so most of the medium sized tights I tried on were about 4 inches too long and most of the tights in size small fit lengthwise, but they were painfully tight and I would risk splitting my pants if I tried to run in them. I have worn my capri length tights for as long as possible because of this problem. I actually did not own anything longer, but I dedicated over an hour of my time to finding something full length that would work for me because I am sick of being cold. I finally settled on 2 amazing pairs of pants (both different sizes). The first was made by a brand called Avalanche and the other was by a brand called Marika tek.

Coldweatherclothes

My winter running swag

I was so proud of my new gear that the following morning, I woke up and went on a run with the thicker pair of my new tights (the Avalanche Pair), my new gloves, a thick fleece lined shirt, a headband to warm my ears, and a windbreaker. At the time, I believed the windbreaker was necessary because the wind has been unbearable here; however I actually ended up being far too warm. My run was difficult because I was only able to focus on how warm I was the entire time. I made the same mistake at the race I ran over the weekend and struggled there because of the heat too.


I also took the opportunity to try out the Marika tek pair. I think they may be a bit too large for me because I had trouble keeping them up and noticed they are slightly large in the waist. I may see if they fit my sister since she is slightly taller than me and I will look for them in a smaller size. Despite the fit, they were great quality and they were sufficiently warm.


I know that even having warm apparel may not be enough for me when things get really cold. That is why I also purchased a Living Social Deal for a month long membership trial at a local gym close to my workplace. I am typically anti-gym because they are so expensive here and they are usually overcrowded, but I was able to get the deal for about $20. I haven’t activated it yet and I am holding off until conditions get bit worse outside and my cold goes away. For now I will make good use of the sidewalks and enjoy running outdoors until things become too cold or unsafe outdoors.


I am pleased to say that I think I have set myself up for success and I hope I will be able to keep pumping out runs this winter.

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