marathon training · races · running

marathon #8: fort4fitness

On Saturday I ran my eighth marathon, my first since the fall of 2012 (post-Leo).  It was hard – harder than I remembered them being – but I came out with a new PR of 4:21:21.  I initially hoped to go under 4:20, but with how I felt and how I had to fight the last few miles, I am really happy with the time I got.

img_20161001_120428

So let’s back up.

I started running again – consistently – this past spring when Molly (finally) started sleeping through the night.  I had thought about doing a half marathon but wasn’t sure which one to do or if I wanted to put the money into it… and then Kimberly  generously registered me for the Fort4Fitness half marathon!  Around the same time my friend here in town started training for her first marathon and I said I would be happy to run with her anytime.  I jumped in on her long runs and found myself going 12, 15, and then 18 miles easily.  I felt really good.  I started to wonder if maybe a marathon wasn’t such an impossibility after all.  I checked and I could easily switch my Fort4Fitness half registration for the full, so I did.  I ran 22 miles by myself one Sunday morning and felt fantastic.  I realized when I finished that if I had kept that pace for the whole marathon I would PR.  That felt crazy to me and also really exciting.

Race morning I got up and got my stuff together, coated myself with coconut oil to prevent chafing, poured coffee in a large mug, and hopped in the car.  I drove down to Fort Wayne and met up with Kimberly, who had graciously picked up my packet for me the night before.  We went to the bathroom and talked and I tried not to be nervous.  It felt really strange to be running a race again after all this time!  We got in the corrals and I saw my friend Richele, who was there to run the 10K.  It definitely helped to see her, too, and to feel her excitement for me.

The first 10 miles I felt really good.  I don’t think I went out too fast but I did feel like my energy started to flag a bit.  Miles 10-20 I held steady and just did the work.  Miles 20-26 were hard – I really had to dig in to keep going and to keep moving.  I knew going sub 4:20 was looking dicey and at mile 23 I knew that I really needed to push hard if I wanted to PR (previous best 4:22:06).  The finish is in the baseball stadium and you run around the bases, which is fun.  I went hard and finished really well, which felt good.

I know there are some things I could do differently in the future – most notably a longer training cycle and better fueling (fortunately Kimberly gave me a GU race morning which I took at mile 20 – otherwise I would have not been carrying enough fuel on my own).  But for being my first marathon back in four years and for a PR I am so incredibly happy and proud of what I achieved.

I watched Kimberly finish her race (4:23 and a PR for her on a run she intended to do slow and as a training run!) and then I drove home.  In true mom-fashion I washed my face with a wet wipe in the car, then stopped at Aldi before I got home so I could grocery shop (I put on a long sleeve shirt over my running clothes so maybe the smell was masked a bit?  Let’s hope?).  Then I came home and cleaned up the kitchen and showered and took the kids for a walk and made dinner… post-marathon looks a lot different with three kids!  I also slept 10 hours last night, which felt amaaaaazing.

The day of the race I couldn’t stop thinking about how hard it was and how much work it took.  And one day later I’m already eyeing another marathon in November, debating if maybe I should give it one more go this year.

On an unrelated note, I just paid $18 to renew my domain again for the year, so who knows, maybe I’ll return to marathons and blogging.  If I did, what sort of things would you come here to read about?

running

on running

For the last year or more I’ve wondered if I’m still a runner.  I haven’t run very much and when I have it’s felt pretty awful.  I didn’t enjoy it and it felt too difficult, both mentally and physically.  I thought maybe I just wasn’t the runner I used to be, that maybe something had shifted in me and I needed to find something else.  But recently Molly has started sleeping through the night the majority of the time (insert a happy dance, jazz hands, and all the heart-eye emojis here) and I’ve been running in the mornings again.  It started with intervals – running 3 or 4 minutes, then walking for 1, and repeat.  Then I switched to just ditching the intervals and running and one morning as I cruised through the miles I realized I’m enjoying this.  Turns out when I’m not feeling as bone-deep tired, I really do still love running.  I love the quiet mornings.  I love the alone time and the breathing and pushing my legs and my lungs.  I like feeling sweaty and that burst of energy that comes from tiring yourself out a bit.  I’m looking forward to my morning runs again and enjoying the work.  It feels a bit like getting some of myself back again.

running · running total

2014 running review

January 1, 2014 I ran 2 miles – my first postpartum run after having Kate.  I ended the year at 15 weeks pregnant and 840 miles for the year.  I ran two half marathons: the Parlor City Trot in Bluffton Indiana (2:14, Kate in stroller) and the Haunted Hilly Half (1:58:48).  Parlor City Trot was my half marathon with Kate and she did really well for most of the race, aside from a few fussy spots where she was tired or wanted a snack.  I was not really trained for the 13 miles and hoped that all my miles pushing the double stroller would help me get across the finish line.  It worked… but was painful.  The Haunted Half was my attempt at going sub-2 for the first time since having kids and thanks to the help of Kimberly, I mostly achieved it.  I say “mostly” because the course was a little short, so technically I would have been just under 2:01 if it had been full length.  But the HILLS.  Yowza.  Kimberly had to drag my sorry 6 week pregnant butt over them (and she was 16 weeks pregnant at the time).  My highest mileage month was October, with 122 miles.  As of right now I’m still running.  I had a dip in November and December where I was tired and didn’t run as much, but now that I’m in the second trimester I’m finding my energy is back up, as well as my speed (for the most part).  I’m in the sweet spot right now where I don’t have first trimester fatigue or third trimester body bulk.  I’m loving it!

I don’t have tons of goals for 2015.  I’d like to run through pregnancy as much as possible and as my body is willing and able.  I’d like to come back running postpartum.  And I’d like to do a half marathon in the fall with Kimberly, as a postpartum comeback.  I’d love to do some stroller runs in the spring and late summer and fall, as it’s a great way to build strength and endurance and share running with the kids (as well as get them outside).

How was your 2014?  What goals do you have for 2015?

Kate · running

friends and first stroller run

Saturday I was supposed to run the Nutri-Run 20K in Fort Wayne with Kimberly.  Because March has been a hard running month for me between my knees and a stomach bug, I just met up with Kimberly post-race for fro-yo and baby sharing.

IMG_20140329_145142

I can’t say I was sad I missed the race considering it was sleeting and super windy, but I am super proud of Kimberly for running it and having an awesome time.  She’s amazing and I love sharing life with her – talking about our toddler boys, running, and just “getting” each other.

Speaking of friends who “get” you, Sunday we got to have breakfast with our good friends Joel and Rachel. It was a bit of controlled chaos, with two carseats and three booster seats between us as we navigated eggs and conversation (plus one diaper issue and a spilled drink) but it was so good to see them face to face and catch up a little!

Sunday it was gloriously sunny and warm out, so it was time for Kate’s first stroller run!

IMG_20140330_132701

IMG_20140330_140721

I’ve run 5 times in the month of March, so the run was a little painful, but it did feel really good to get out.  I managed 4 miles while my little beauty snoozed in front of me.  Talk about a supercute view!

It was also my first run with my Garmin Forerunner 10 – a Christmas present from Dave that I’ve been really excited to try out, but it’s been too cold to get outside with it!  I love the watch and it’s super simple, which is perfect.  I’m looking forward to a lot more runs with it!

running · running total

february runs and wonky knees

I ended up running 64 miles in February.  I had hoped to run 5 miles in February and I did, twice!  I also started adding in some Jillian Michaels’ workout videos a couple times a week, in addition to running.  Except now my knees are all wonky and I’m looking at a good couple days of no-running-no-activity-rest-days.  Boo.

So last week on Wednesday I did the 3-2-1 treadmill workout and later my knees felt a little sore but I figured it was from doing Jillian the day before because Jillian always leaves me pretty sore.  On Friday I was ready to run again and I wasn’t sure what to do so I thought I would do the 3-2-1 workout again.  I had really liked how it crammed in some miles and some speed but kept things changing.  After Friday’s run I noticed my knees felt sore again… and by Friday afternoon I was hobbling around.  Both my knees but especially my right were aching and sore, slightly tender to the touch along the outside, and felt really weak, like my stabilizing muscles were too fatigued or stressed to hold correctly.

Today my knees are better and seem to be improving as the day wears on.  At first I thought it might be my IT band, because of the pain on the outside of my knee, but now I’m thinking I just did too much and it’s just general overuse and fatigued muscles.  To be honest, I’ve never had to watch my running very closely because I’ve never had an issue with injury.  I’ve run what I’ve wanted, when I’ve wanted.  If it’s a big increase in mileage it hasn’t seemed to bother me.  If I’ve pushed it super hard one week at the most I’ve only noticed tired legs, but never twinges of injury.  So to have my knees flare up like this really took me back and surprised me!  I’m definitely going to give them complete rest until they feel better and then I’ll very slowly ease in to running to make sure they’re handling it okay.  My best guess, right now, is that I just did too much at once in a week – too many speed intervals, too many miles, too many Jillian workouts.  I’m hoping with rest and then spacing out hard workouts I’ll skip over any future issues and get back to running strong!

running · treadmill

3-2-1 treadmill workout

Like most people, I like to mix things up on the treadmill to keep from getting bored.  This one definitely did the trick and really gave me a great workout.  Adjust it for yourself faster or slower depending on your pace.  It’s a pyramid workout, so you’ll progressively get faster, peak, then come back down.

  • 3 minutes at 6.5, 7, 7.5, 8, 7.5, 7
  • 2 minutes at: 6.5, 7, 7.5, 8, 7.5, 7
  • 1 minute at: 6.5, 7, 7.5, 8, 7.5, 7, 6.5

I finished 4.5 miles in 37:23, which is really fast for me.  Let me know if you try this!

meal plan · running · running total

january runs

January was my first month back running.  I did my first postpartum run on January 1 and logged 59 miles for the month.  I’ve been doing 3 miles most days, sometimes 2 if I’m really crunched for time or tired, and just once managed to get in 4 miles before duty called!  I’m hoping to log more miles in February, maybe a couple more 4 milers or even 5 miles if the stars align.  Realistically most days I’ll still hang at 3, but I’ve been trying to challenge myself with speed and yesterday did 3 miles in 24:24, which is really fast for me (it helps to use the treadmill)!

This week in meals:

  • Monday: mexican lasagna – I did mine with corn tortillas in a 9×13 casserole dish.  We loved this meal!
  • Tuesday: zucchini, peppers, and green beans stir fry with rice noodles
  • Wednesday: leftovers
  • Thursday: chickpea crockpot soup
  • Friday: lasagna rolls with tofu
  • Saturday: split pea quinoa crockpot soup
  • snacks: steel cut oatmeal muffins – we love these!  Two would be great for a  breakfast on the go, although we like just one for a snack.  You could pack them full of nuts and seeds and dry fruit… although we love them with just chocolate chips.  We’ll definitely be making another batch to keep on hand!

What have you been making lately?