First Post-Baby Race: DNS

Those of you who follow me on Instagram already know this, but my first post-baby race didn’t exactly go the way I’d hoped. In fact, it didn’t go at all.

We packed up the car and headed to my parents’ place on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. It was our first holiday as a family of three, and we were excited to see my parents and my sisters. I made lists on lists to make sure that we wouldn’t forget anything we might need with a baby in tow. But I forgot one crucial thing for myself: a sports bra.

While for some women, the lack of a sports bra might not be a deal breaker, that is SO not the case for me. I was a busty runner long before baby, and now that I’m breastfeeding, my boobs are even more out of control. I can’t just run out to Walmart or Target and get something last-minute. Of course, I discovered the missing sports bra at 7 am on Thanksgiving, so even if I weren’t a busty lady, replacing the bra would have been tricky. Add to that the fact that Baby V had her first fever overnight on Wednesday into Thursday and we were up all night, well, it wasn’t exactly a recipe for a good race anyway.

Obviously, I was incredibly disappointed that I wouldn’t be running. But honestly? It was kind of a blessing in disguise. It was absolutely FRIGID on Thanksgiving morning, and windy to boot. And I would have had a really hard time leaving a sick, cranky baby to go run.

This was yet another reminder that life with a baby is always going to be different, and will continue to throw curveballs. My priorities have shifted and that’s OK. As one IG follower commented, “Baby snuggles > running.”

When is the last time you DNS’d a race?

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Training For My First Post-Baby Race

So. Training for the Zack’s Place Turkey Trot 5k has officially kicked off. As usual, I’m using a bastardized Hal Higdon plan. According to The Plan, I’m to run four days a week, maxing out with long runs of five miles.

I have a long and complicated history with training plans. Mostly, I don’t really follow them all that closely. Which is weird for someone as generally Type A as I am. But for whatever reason, I have a hard time sticking to a training plan. I generally do about 80% of the scheduled runs and then wing it race day. Training is already off to an inauspicious start; I only did two of four scheduled runs my first week.

I’m trying really hard to be smart this time. Stick to the plan. Stretch. Foam roll. Keep easy runs easy. I have absolutely zero illusions about hitting some kind of PR on race day, but it would be nice to actually race on race day. To push myself and see what this post-baby body is capable of. But I need to get to the starting line healthy first.

Now that I have a baby to care for, and as the days become darker and colder, it will be even more challenging to stick to a training plan. Thankfully, I have a few things working in my favor. One: Ben started his six week paternity leave on Monday. Because Vera was born over the summer, he didn’t take his leave. Now, we’ll have another six weeks together as a family, meaning I’ll hopefully be able to get more sleep and have more time for running. Two: I now have a treadmill. Hooray for Front Porch Forum! Weather and darkness will no longer be a limiting factor in my ability to get a run done. And I can even potentially sneak in runs while Vera naps.

I think my biggest challenge in sticking to a training plan will be lack of sleep. Vera is still not sleeping through the night. Nowhere even close, in fact. It’s rough. Most days I’m too exhausted to want to do much, let alone go out and run speed intervals. I’m hoping that over the next few weeks, sleep will improve. We’re planning to call our pediatrician this week to see if she can give us some tips, cause both Ben and I are reaching the ends of our tolerance.

So yeah. Long story short, being a mother runner is hard, but I think I can stick with it.

Officially Kicking Off Postpartum Fitness

Rather than having a pity party over what I can’t do (if you missed it, check out my six week postpartum update here), I’m choosing to focus on what I can do: walking and yoga. While it’s not exactly half marathon training and CrossFit, it’s what I’ve got, and I’m grateful for it. I hope to be back running and lifting fairly soon, but I need to be smart about my postpartum recovery and not push myself into injury.

For the next few weeks, it’s my goal to go to yoga at least twice a week, as I still have my summer unlimited pass at my studio through the end of August. I also hope to walk at least two miles four days a week. This may be a bit ambitious, as Ben is going back to school on Thursday, but thanks to the new paths our neighbor brush hogged for us, it should be attainable.

I’m officially starting this postpartum journey with a body that’s eight pounds heavier and a hell of a lot squishier and less muscular than it was this time last year. I have taken some photos and measurements to help me track progress, but I will not be posting them here. They are for me personally because I don’t want to depend on the numbers on the scale to help me see changes.

As I resume “training,” I hope to bring back Manic Monday training recap posts on Mondays, but with the caveat that I’m still not sure how often I’ll be able to blog. You may get several weeks at once, and that’s just what life is right now.

I’m Ready for a Comeback

As I teased on Friday, I’ve registered for my first postpartum race: the Zack’s Place Turkey Trot 5k on Thanksgiving.

I ran this race in 2012 (pre-blog days) and loved it. I was registered to run it again in 2014 but DNS’d due to a foot injury. The race is in Woodstock, VT, which is just a few minutes from my parents’ house. We’ll be with them for Thanksgiving this year, so I’m excited to do this race again. The registration fee is only $30, and the pre/post-race perks are great.

Needless to say, I’m feeling both excited and nervous. As of Thanksgiving, I won’t have run a race in over a year, and I haven’t yet started running postpartum. At this point, I don’t have any goals, other than to get to the starting line healthy. I’m sure some goals will become clear over the course of training. In the meantime, I just can’t wait to start running again!

Who else will be running a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving?

October 2017 Wrap Up

CrossFit
Well, this was not a good month for CrossFit. I only went a literal handful of times. Between the weird fall weather we’re having and coasting on the high of my half marathon PR, I just didn’t feel like doing much. I’m trying to remind myself how much I love going to class, and how good it is for my long term health. I hope to get back to class with some regularity in November.

Running
Once again, not a great month of running. After my race on October first, I only did a couple of short, easy runs. I’d love to say that I’m going to get back on the wagon, but looking out the window at the cold, dreary Vermont November weather, I know that’s not the case.

Since I’m NOT training for a spring race this year, I plan to pretty much not run this winter. I’m not a big fan of outdoor winter running, and since I ditched my Planet Fitness membership, I no longer have treadmill access. I’m a fair weather runner, what can I say?

Theatre
Lyric Theatre’s production of A Christmas Story the musical opens next week. This is the first Lyric show I haven’t been directly involved with since I was cast Legally Blonde back in the spring of 2014. It’s strange, but also good. It’s been a real treat to have free time, although I often feel like I don’t quite know what to do with myself.

I’ve now been to two meetings of the Lyric Theatre PR/Development Committee, and I really feel like I made the right choice. Meetings are fun and completely functional, and there are usually snacks 🙂 I’m excited to continue to contribute to Lyric’s future.

Highlight
Our Toronto trip, hands down. It was so, so nice to spend some one-on-one time together. Runner up is PUTTING AN OFFER IN ON A HOUSE! Yup. That happened. Stay tuned!

Lowlight
The great big wind storm that knocked out power for 3+ days. As of publishing this post, we still don’t have power at home. Boooo.

October Goals
As a refresher, my goals for September were:

  • Make house-hunting a priority–yes
  • Complete at least one item on my “long term” to-do list at work–yes
  • Go to CrossFit at least 2x per week–nope

As I said above, it wasn’t a good month for CF, but I’m not worried about it. As for my work projects, I have not one, but TWO nearly complete, and I’ve started some others. It feels really good to finally chip away at the stuff that doesn’t really have hard deadlines. It’s so easy to just let them go month after month.

November Goals

  • Complete at least one additional item on my “long term” to-do list at work
  • Go to CrossFit at least 2x per week

What was the highlight of your October?

 

Race Recap: Leaf Peepers Half Marathon 2017

What | Where |When: Leaf Peepers Half Marathon | Waterbury, VT | October 1, 2017

Weather: 50’s at the start, mid 60’s at the end. Breezy and sunny.

Pre-Race
I got up around 8, chugged some water, made eggs and toast, and got myself ready. The drive to Waterbury is about 35-40 minutes from my house, so I left around 9:30. I stopped for some iced coffee on the way, and continued to sip water as I drove.

Parking was well-marked and very easy. Also relatively close to the start/finish, which ended up being beneficial, as I went back and forth several times, forgetting stuff, fussing with my gear etc.

Getting my bib was super easy, and all runners also got a jar of Bove’s pasta sauce. I passed, as I didn’t feel like going back to my car again. As I was pinning my bib, I ran into my friend Jennifer, who was running the 5k. It was nice to see her, and she introduced me to a few women who were also running the half, who I ended up running near for quite a while during the middle miles of the race.

I used the potties a couple of times and did some dynamic stretching to warm up. The race started exactly on time at 11 am.

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Miles 1-3 (10:24, 11:15, 13:58)
These were without a doubt the hardest miles of the race. I had seen the elevation profile, and knew that the first three miles had a huge elevation gain, but knowing and seeing are two VERY different things. I ended up walking most of mile three because the hill was just.so.steep and LOOOOOONG. It was super demoralizing. When mile 3 beeped and I saw 13:48 on my Garmin, I pretty much figured my PR attempt was shot, but was determined to keep trying anyway.

Miles 4-8 (9:54, 9:27, 9:41, 10:32, 10:10)
These miles were largely downhill or flat, and I was able to significantly pick up the pace. Any time there was a downhill, I just opened up and let fly. I have long legs and strong quads, so downhills don’t really bother me at all. Around this time I passed Jennifer’s three friends, and we all shared a laugh at how freaking terrible the early hills had been.

I took my first package of sport beans at mile 4, and my second just after the turnaround at mile 8. I sipped water every mile, and felt very well hydrated and fueled the whole time. I wished fervently around mile 6 that I had paid more attention to the course map, because I kept getting faked out thinking “The turnaround MUST be soon,” but it was a lot later than I expected and I got a little frustrated with not knowing where I was.

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Miles 9-13.1 (9:36, 9:25, 9:31, 10:10, 9:12, 7:49)
After the turnaround, I knew that most of the remaining miles were downhill, so I just kept reminding myself that after the first three miles, anything else was easy. I started passing people at this point, which is unusual for me, but I just wanted to be done. I was fairly certain now that a PR was within reach, and I was determined not to somehow mess it up by getting hurt or blowing up.

Just after mile 11 beeped on my Garmin, I realized that I was about to head up another giant hill. Those of you who follow me on Instagram may have seen this pop up on my stories:

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I think that pretty accurately sums up how I felt in that moment. Mile 12 took us out on to a dirt/grass trail that had a few very narrow sections. I got stuck briefly behind a girl, but managed to pass her when the trail opened up a bit.

Mile 13 connected back with our original “out” section, and was almost all downhill, which is likely why it was my fastest mile of the entire race. One of the things I really loved about this race is that they announce your name as you come into the finish. I sprinted across as they announced my name and knew that I had a PR in the bag.

Post-Race
My official time was 2:14:43, which is over three minutes under my old PR of 2:18:06, and I was ELATED. And also exhausted, sore, and hungry. I grabbed half a banana, some cheese, and a bagel, and hobbled over to some grass to stretch out.

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They started the awards ceremony shortly after I finished. They do a “King and Queen of the Hill” contest for the first man and woman to conquer the beastly hills at the beginning, as well as the usual age group and overall winners. As I was stretching on the grass, the most glorious thing happened. A woman approached me and asked if I wanted a gift certificate for a free pair of Saucony shoes. Apparently she had won it as part of an age group, but she wasn’t from the area and knew she wouldn’t use it. Score! The certificate is to a running/outdoor store that I’ve never been to, so I’m curious to see how their fitting process differs from Fleet Feet, and hopefully get some sweet new shoes.

Overall
This course was TOUGH, but beautiful, with great support.

Pros:
– 11 am start
– Cheap registration ($35 plus fees)
– Ample parking near start/finish
– Great on-course support, well marked route, plenty of food post-race

Cons:
– HILLS
– No bling! I somehow didn’t realize this prior to signing up. Maybe that’s why registration is so cheap?
– Shirts cost extra, are cotton

Would you run a half marathon that didn’t give out medals?

September 2017 Wrap Up

CrossFit
While I didn’t get to CrossFit as much as I could have liked in September, I still made it to class at least twice a week most weeks, which is my self-imposed bare minimum. Would I like to be going three times a week? Of course. But in trying to keep up with both running and CF, and still trying to have at least one full rest day a week, there’s only so much I can do.

I’m strongly considering upping my CF membership to an unlimited monthly membership, rather than just my 12 classes per month. This would allow me to hit CF every weekday (or even 6 days a week if I wanted), and would only cost me $30 more each month. I still have some goals I’d like to achieve, and getting to class more consistently seems like the best way to get there. However, considering I rarely make it even three times a week, I’m not sure that the unlimited membership is the solution. It’s easy to say that spending more money is a motivator to get to class, but it’s already not working with the 12 classes per month, so…

Running
This month was the best running month I’ve had in quite a while. I did two double-digit long runs, some speed work, AND registered for my first “for time” half marathon in ages. I completed 7 runs for a total of 44 miles.

After having such a great month, I wish I could say that the momentum will continue, but I honestly doubt it. Now that I’m no longer training for a half, and as the weather here in Vermont gets ever colder and darker, I will probably back off on running a bit. I recently cancelled my Planet Fitness membership because I hadn’t gone in over nine months, which means that I no longer have access to a treadmill. That said, I’ll try to cram in some lunchtime or after work runs while the weather allows, but I’m not holding out hope for anymore high mileage until spring.

Theatre
I am still thoroughly enjoying NOT being involved in a show. I’ve had a couple of temptations pop up recently, both of the onstage and behind-the-scenes variety, but I’ve managed to stay strong and remember that I truly need a break. Not having rehearsals three or four nights a week means that getting in my runs and CrossFit workouts is easier than ever, and I still get to come home for supper, or see my friends, or do fun stuff with Ben.

Instead of being onstage, I have been trying really hard to SEE more shows. Ben and I road-tripped to Massachusetts earlier this month to see Company at Barrington Stage, starring Aaron Tveit of much Broadway acclaim. It was an excellent show, and well worth the whirlwind trip. I also have tickets to see Lyric’s production of A Christmas Story, a play my friend is directing, a cabaret-style show starring a bunch of my Lyric friends, and I’m looking at tickets for several other upcoming productions as well. I figure, if I can’t be on stage, seeing theatre is a great way to still feed my passion. I subscribe to the idea that, much like if you want to be a writer, you must read, if you want to be an actor, you must see shows.

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Aaron Tveit signing autographs after Company

Highlight
We have officially kicked off house hunting! We have an application in to get pre-approved for a mortgage, and have secured the services of a buyer’s realtor, so now begins the real work–actually finding a house. EEEEEEEK!

Lowlight
United Way campaign week kicked my ass. I ate like a garbage can, slept poorly, and was generally super stressed out for an entire week. I am SO GLAD that it’s over. AND, I found out that I’ve been granted a reprieve, and will not have to be on the committee next year. I am intensely grateful to have a break after four straight years.

September Goals
As a refresher, my goals for September were:

  • Go to CF 12 times (the max allowed with my membership) – no excuses!–no
  • Complete a 10+ mile long run–yes!
  • Plan a long weekend trip with Ben–yes!

I was somewhat disappointed in my CrossFit showing this month, as stated above. Still, though, I hit all of my other goals, so I can’t be too upset about it.

October Goals

  • Make house-hunting a priority
  • Complete at least one item on my “long term” to-do list at work
  • Go to CrossFit at least 2x per week

Did you have any goals for September? How’d you do?