Preggo Race Recap: X-Country Marathon Part I

by healthy ashley on December 3, 2013

before the half two weeks before the full

Woah, this race recap is late! Life has been so full lately- busy in a really good way- that every day I think I’ll have time to write the recap but head to bed every night and it’s still on my to-do list!

So November 17th Clara and I ran the X-Country Marathon. It was my fourth time running it. It was my first marathon (recap here) and last year I set my trail marathon PR the week before setting my marathon PR of 4:07 (recap here). Since this race means a lot to me, it was fitting that it’d be the one Clara and I did together.

When I got pregnant I was on an unofficial running hiatus after my 50 mile race. Then the first trimester came and my energy was on the low end of low. I was also in that short-lived phase of being paranoid that every way I moved and every thing I ate and every thought I had could hurt that baby… so it wasn’t the time to start running. Honestly I planned on not running again until after the baby was born.

I felt sad every time I drove past Lake Eola, my favorite place in the world to run to. I started to really miss the endorphins and the stress relief that only a run can provide. Eventually I started to add a few jogs into my walks. Running while pregnant felt like I was learning to run for the first time! I was setting goals like picking a light post in sight to run to… tactics I hadn’t used in years.

Then I remembered a goal I had set more than a year back: “run a marathon while pregnant.” I couldn’t stop thinking about it- mostly wondering if I could do it. So I pulled out my handy spreadsheet of local races, found X-Country and jotted down a rough training plan. It was possible. I didn’t sign up until much closer to the race, but I set it as a goal and started to build back up to running.

Before anything could be official I checked with my midwife. We talked about how it would be 26.2 miles and that it would be in the trails. I was used to distance and trail running and everything in my pregnancy was completely on point so she was more than happy to give her consent. She said she’d still monitor me and make sure everything looked good closer to the race too (and it did).

Honestly training for the race was more of an adventure in misadventures of pregnant running than training for a marathon. Every week it was something- learning my gait had changed and I needed new shoes, random calf pain and learning how to align myself to avoid killer side stitches. So many runs ended in frustration because my body was acting in a way I hadn’t encountered before… but each failed run led to a discovery and a method to practice on the next run. Which is good, it just doesn’t add up to solid training.

Eventually I did a half marathon two weeks before the race (mostly to mentally prepare myself) and had several good medium-long runs, but never got in the sweet 20 I wanted. I was slower than ever, too. I’d maintain an 11:30 pace that felt like 9 and it just didn’t feel like going faster was an option.

Before I knew it I was 6.5 months pregnant and it was race morning!

Next: Part II: The Recap

 

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Race Recap: Xterra Wildhorse Trail Half Marathon

by healthy ashley on November 4, 2013

Yesterday I finished the Xterra Wildhorse Trail Half Marathon put on by Tampa Races who I do most of my runs with.

I had a blast, even though the race was not what you’d expect from a typical trail run. It was my first race while pregnant and I did it mostly to get some trail experience before my trail full in two weeks.

I found out about the half pretty last minute, so I actually continued on with my regular workouts the day before. I ran 7 miles and did a horribly hard WOD, so the rest of the day was all about recovery. To prepare my body I drank a ton of water, wore compression socks, took fish oil, ate plenty of food (and a lot of protein) and took Vega Recovery Accelerator (love this stuff). I also drank coconut water because old pre-race habits die hard.

Saturday morning Richard and I made our way about 90 minutes from home to the park the race was held in. Pulling up I remembered I’d done this course before. Checking in was easy with not too many runners and I moved around to keep my body warm as the weather was wet and a little chilly.

At 8am we sang the national anthem and started running. The group kept together at a slow pace in a large pack.. and then boom we come to a complete stop. Less than half a mile into the run we hit a woodsy part that we have to file single file into. Then we spread out again and come to another stop. This time I said a profanity because I remembered that this is that  race, the one with the stream and crazy technical parts.

So, .8 miles into the run we walk through a stream waist deep. And then climb through the mud to get out of it. Chilly. And wet.

My biggest challenge when running is just keeping my mind into it. Pre-pregnancy I was really motivated my speed and setting new records but I can’t do that right now. I’m much slower and it doesn’t feel like there are any other speeds for me. I paced myself slow and steady and focused on keeping good form and taking deep breaths to avoid side stitches.

I was slow and steady until we came to a crazy technical part of the course with a long series of muddy and steep ups and downs. Grabbing on to roots, rocks and trees, it’s a challenging part where going fast isn’t really an option.

The race description says, “the course is primarily wide double track with a fast, packed surface,” so I didn’t expect such a crazy course.

My mind was racing. “High knees! Be careful! Slow down! Speed up!” I’ve run hundreds of miles on trails so I’m used to hidden roots and vines that will bring you to the ground. Ultimately I didn’t fall once because I was so hyper aware and careful.

My stamina was good throughout the race, even though it was hard switching back to running after climbing muddy inclines. I didn’t pay attention to time and just tried to stay slow and steady and run as much as possible.

Richard volunteered on the course so I got to see him at a water stop. Poor guy heard how challenging the course was and was a little worried about Clara and me. Still, it’s nice to get kisses in the middle of a race!

Eventually, I completed the two laps and made my way through the stream for the second time. I saw I had just over one mile left and looked forward to a straight dash to the finish line. Instead, the last mile took us back into the woods, under low-hanging vines and over roots and fallen trees. The last mile sucked- I was so close to finishing but couldn’t go fast with the terrain. Then I came to this, a super steep (still wet) incline uphill. The downhill was just as bad.

Eventually, I made it out of the woods for the last time and although the finish line was in sight, we were directed around a sunny, grassy field. Again, running away from the finish line to run back to it made that last mile my least favorite.

But then there was my sweet finish line and a handsome husband waiting just behind it. I was done. Closer to my goals, I completed the half marathon.

I finished in 3:18, a far cry from the 2:45 I had hoped for and the 2 hour half I ran pre-pregnancy. The super-technical miles took me 25 minutes each, so there were other factors at play. I wasn’t doing this race for time, but I still would like to have seen what my time would have been without the stream crossing and other unusual race additions. I’m excited to see the overall results too.

 

On racing while pregnant:

1. Everyone was super nice. People would look back to check on me after really tough parts. Others made cute comments about running for two and how they couldn’t let me finish before them. It was nice to feel supported.

2. My mind has never raced so much during a WOD. I was thinking about the baby, thinking about how I felt and paying extra attention to my footing. I used to run to zone out; there was none of that in this race!

3. In all my thinking during the race I told myself that if I didn’t feel good at any point, that I’d have to drop out no questions asked. And that the same will go for this month’s marathon. I felt fine and don’t anticipate having to drop out of a race, but it is such a different feeling being responsible for a growing baby and having to be okay with letting go when necessary.

4. Finishing a race pregnant felt kick ass. Pregnancy has changed a lot for me: body, hormones, what I eat/drink, planning maternity leave, how I spend money, just knowing I’m about to be a mom. Running makes me so incredibly happy and fulfilled and it was INCREDIBLE to experience that bit of me, and with Clara inside of me.

5. I honestly think Clara liked the race. She’s usually really quiet but for the rest of the day she was bouncing around in my belly. I fell asleep with my hand on my belly feeling her roll around. I didn’t get a medal but I want to save the race shirt and bib for her somehow.

Thanks to a husband who continues to support me- and who had a kiss and a plate of pancakes ready as I crossed the finish line. I couldn’t ask for a better partner.

A plate of pumpkin pie and pancakes (on the way to lunch, obviously) is the best way to end a dirty, wet, awesome race. I’m pumped for the X-Country Marathon in two weeks!

 

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Pregnancy Update and Baby Bump Bundle Review

by healthy ashley on October 21, 2013

Grandpa and me comparing bumps

We’re at 22 weeks!

Time is flying by! I’m not sure if I’m really busy or if I’m really lazy and just don’t want to admit it, but free time seems to dwindle by the day! Since bullet points are so much easier than paragraphs, here’s an update:

- I can’t believe the absolute baby fever and baby jealousy I have even though I have a perfect little baby growing inside of me. Patience!

- I still haven’t had a single craving, just tons of random aversions. I can’t stand avocado and sriracha even though those used to be my favorite foods.

- My doctor had a “talk” with me about my weight gain. I gained double the recommend amount in the first 19 weeks. Maybe my baby is just made of muscle? :) Since then I’m tracking what I eat in an effort to be more mindful.

- Richard is mesmerized by this little girl and always has her on his mind, as evidenced by this reusable toy pad at a toy store we visited:

- I used to think babies were cute and small, but lately newborns terrify me. All I can think about lately are those huge limbs and facial features clawing out my lady parts.

- A hot mom I know told me “pushing a baby out is FUCKING AWESOME” and I have a whole new perspective on birthing this baby. I now I find myself really looking forward to earning that badass badge.

Post-12 miles at 21 weeks.

- I’ve been running longer distances and it feels a whole new level of amazing. I have a marathon in mind and as long as things keep going well, I’ll waddle that next month. (My doctor is in full support.)

- The bump feels great while running but I have to overcome little moments of worrying about the baby. But I can also worry about the baby when I wake up and realize I’ve rolled onto my back, when I don’t eat enough veggies and when I’m emotional. So if I feel good, it’s probably all good.

- I’ve finally entered the honeymoon stage of the second trimester. I thought everyone was lying, but that sweet spot of having a cute bump, having energy and finally not having symptoms does exist. And I never want it to go away.

 

Baby Bump Bundle Review

I first found out about Baby Bump Bundle on Twitter and kind of freaked out.

Curated handpicked pregnancy products by trimester for expecting moms, gifts for baby, and nursing essentials for new moms.

Essentially, they offer modern day gift baskets for new moms and moms-to-be. Treats during pregnancy are the best things ever; a little pampering goes a long way.

I have never been so excited to check my mail. Finally, this well-packed, exciting little box made its way to my doorstep. Inside were amazing little gifts all wrapped in tissue paper and a little sticker.Here’s what was in my bundle:

- Expecting More DVD with 6 workouts from Sara Haley- haven’t tried yet but it looks good!

- Fitbook mama2be Fitness Journal- really cool idea, though I’m more of an app/laptop tracker than a pen and paper. Would be a great gift for someone at the beginning of their pregnancy.

- Vapur collapsible water bottle- super convenient. Really enjoyed on our recent road trip.

- Sweaty Band headband- love these!!! Such a treat and great for working out in.

- Two Two Degrees snack bars- delicious. Easy, healthy nutrition.

My Review:

The Baby Bump Bundle is awesome. The products were all things I’d buy on my own in colors and flavors I like. It was an exciting surprise to open the box and I really appreciate the focus on health. The would be a great gift for a mom-to-be or new mom, or for a mama to herself! Bundles start at $30 so it’s pretty reasonable.

 

What is your favorite treat product? What would you want in your box, mom or not?

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