I'm 20 weeks postpartum, and Squishy will soon be 5 months! In some ways, it's hard to remember being pregnant. It's true when people say that the pain(s) of pregnancy and labor are soon forgotten. And what reminders are left are strongly hidden by love for my baby. (Like reminders of occasional lingering pelvic pain and my still-remaining "mom pooch"/skin flab. Oh yes, and don't forget my saggy nursing boobs and stretch marks, LOL.) Other than those things, though, I feel… tired.
Let me preface this entire upcoming race report by saying that I KNOW I am not where I need to be or where I want to be, but it is nice to have small leaps in progress along the road "back" to let me know that I'm doing the right things. What are those "right" things, you may be wondering? Well… work. Good old fashioned work.
I have been running 7 days a week, totaling low to mid 60s. I have consistently been doing two workouts- one interval workout and one tempo. I'm doing mostly longer intervals- between 1k and 2k repeats. The tempos are usually 2 x 3 or 3 x 2 or 5 mile steady state. My long runs are now up to 18 miles, and I usually do a middle distance run during the week of 10-12 miles. Most runs are on the treadmill in our guest room, sweating my brains out. (The fan in the bedroom is dangerously close to my head when I run (tall people's problems). The treadmill has a fan, but when I turn it up to high, I can't hear the baby monitor. Squishy is a good running buddy when she's awake. She will usually let me get in at least 6 miles while watching from her bear seat. After that, it becomes iffy, and I often have to wake up daddy.
Pirate Dash 5K
I set out with a C goal of 20:30, B goal of 20:15, and A goal of Sub 20. I knew the course would be tricky- downhill start with a VERY hilly back half. Keep in mind, I haven't raced a 5K since Oct. 2013. I tried to use recent workouts to guide me. Coach and I decided that I needed to run a somewhat aggressive first mile. Neither of us knew how bad the hills on the back half would get me, but the only way I could possibly run Sub 20 was to go out a bit fast.
It's never a good sign when at the start the announcer says, "All kids from the running club move to the front line." YIKES! I was likely to trample a little person! The race benefitted one of the local schools; so I guess they wanted to recognize their student runners. Needless to say, the start was a complete cluster. I tried to stay calm and dodge and weave. Pretty soon, all the littles had fallen off, and I fell into place behind a teenage boy and a man about my age.
I decided to go slightly below Sub 20 pace to start, conserving slightly, but getting a cushion for the hills. Mile 1 6:20.
The other man fell off, and I was running next to the teenage boy. I didn't recognize him, but he must run for one of the local high schools b/c at one point he looked over at me and said, "Hi, Coach." I knew there were two huge hills coming up, but I thought they would be at 1.5-2. Nope, I cruised through Mile 2 6:20.
As you know, I rarely wear a Garmin, but I did for this race. I felt the extra knowledge would help me meet my goals. I had set the screen to show my total time, mile average, and total average. Um, but my screen wasn't showing the distance. The hills began immediately in the 3rd mile. The Garmin average was reading 7:30. I didn't really freak out b/c honestly, I was in such oxygen debt that all I could do was repeat to myself, "Pain locker, pain locker." LOL, this is something I tell my kids during track. Get in the Pain Locker and start there; don't be afraid of it. Sometimes to do well, you have to hurt. I forced myself to look at the top of the hill; then I forced myself to look at the top of the next hill, and then the third and final hill. Garmin average still 7:30. UGH!
Once we finally finished the hills, the high school boy had moved well past me, and another man had passed me. (Other guy fell back at Mile 2.) We started running into walkers going the opposite way, and the top two guys passed the leading cop car. Then I somehow was directly behind the cop car. I could nearly touch its bumper! I moved off to the side and was running directly towards the masses of walkers. I had no idea how close I was to the finish. I knew what road the finish was on, but not the exact placement. All I knew is that I had been running for 17 minutes and I needed to GO.
It was like I was a madman. LOL. I wasn't even saying excuse me, just dodging and weaving, panting and gasping for three. long. minutes. I seriously couldn't feel my legs. The finish line was on a sharp turn, and I could see Keith with the stroller before I could see the finish. He was screaming something about Sub 20. I was out of control, just flailing body parts speeding towards the line.
Wow, it had been so long since I raced like this. Risky. Gutsy. Leaving it all out there. Me vs. the clock.
First female 19:57
For the first time in a long time, I felt proud of my running. I know Sub 20 is nothing special; I've done it dozens of times before. It was the proof, however, of how hard I've worked the past 4 months. Proof that motherhood will not be the end of my running. A catalyst to continue to train hard, keeping the grind and all its unglamorousness.
And that's all for now.
Run Happy, friends!