This was a good race considering all the unusual circumstances surrounding it.
First, DAYLIGHT SAVINGS (I hate you Daylight Savings)
Second, When windchill was factored in it was below zero. Fun.
Third, and probably most importantly, I am *18 weeks and 0 days pregnant.
*For those following my weekly recaps, I include Sunday in the previous week even though TECHNICALLY Sunday is the start of a new week of pregnancy... But lets be honest, at the end of of this journey one day doesn't make a difference... how many kids do you know were born on their due date?.... its WAY easier for me to record my training weeks the way I do for my running log.... SO.... although this race was included in my Week 17 Recap, it's technically week 18.
I'm registered to run for Team Sneakerama, I represent the local running specialty store for local races, so long as they don't also conflict with SISU Project USATF-NE team races. I have two singlets, one on the larger side, and one that fits non-pregnant-me perfectly. I couldn't find the larger one... and for some reason I was really stressed that I was wearing a shirt that couldn't cover or hide my bump... and I was also stressed it was pink. Afterall, I was here to have fun, right? I wanted my orange singlet so I could ALMOST be festive! Why this was so important? I'll never know. I'll just blame hormones.... but I eventually found the orange one and could move on with my life. I put on the green St. Patty's day socks over my tights, and tied a green bow in my hair. I thought I was overdressed with the long tights and Under Armour. In hindsight, I don't know why I thought that.
Before The Race:
I'm trying really hard to be chill. This is fun, Right?!, But I've never raced pregnant, and I'm really competitive. I'm thinking "can I get top 5?" "can I get top 3?" "Can I run under 21 Minutes?". It's a bit of a different vibe when I race for Team Sneakerama. These are some of my favorite people, but they are here for mostly fun and my husband and I are way too serious. In a weird way I get more nervous for these small races that I have an actual chance at placing in... USATF races are so competitive I know no one will even notice me in the field of amazingness. We get there an hour before the start but can't get our numbers until 10 minutes before because one of the members of the team had them, and like any normal person doing a Fun 5k on a freezing ass day, he didn't feel like waiting in the cold for an hour before the race. I didn't really worry about this too much, but it effected my warm up because I didn't want to be warming up and then not be at the meet-up spot once he arrived. I did less than a mile warm up... more because I was too cold to strip down and I had so many layers on I could barely move. I went to the bathroom a million times and contemplated camping out in a Port-a-John until the start... NO WIND IN THERE!
I stopped being a baby and I took my jacket, sweatshirt, and hat off. I freed my legs from the bulky sweatpants. I switched to sleeker gloves and put on a thin headband to cover my ears. I tied my On Cloud-Flow's up nice and tight for maximum ankle support. I did some strides... and I suddenly felt like I had arrived. I eyed the competition with my husband. I didn't see anyone for him to worry about, but I noticed Sonja Kent so I was relieved I wouldn't be racing for the win... She's regularly sub 18... so not going to even be close. I didn't want to kill myself for a local race. BUT this race kicks off the St. Patricks Day festivities in Worcester. It runs the route of the parade so LOTS of spectators come out... and many of them people I know! I like to do well .... Again, this is for fun, RIGHT?
Well, all the fooling with my gloves had my GPS watch set to a different setting than normal, and there was no way I was taking my gloves off to change it. I planned to use the moving pace to help me keep my first mile at 7:00 pace. My plan was to start there and then do a progression run. All plans out the window, so my next plan was to let a lot of girls in front of me so I took myself out of the competition, and just make sure I had really stable and slow breathing. It's hard to know what pace I'm running because I've never done this before. I don't actually know how much pregnancy will effect me... and on regular runs I'm barely cracking 9 minute miles... So I assumed it'd impact performance a lot....?! I caught up to Megan Proux. She recognized me... and then I knew I must be faster than 7's.
This mile has a hairpin turnaround since the course is out and back. I planned to break the mile into two parts staying at a steady pace until the turn and then gradually pushing it. At this point I realized 7:00/mi was way underestimating what I could do. Megan and I were still running together. We were 4th and 5th at the start of Mile 2 but at this point I thought maybe we were 6th and 7th? I was trying not to keep track. I didn't want to get competitive. I thought "I'll run with her till the finish and she'll out kick me... but at least she can help me keep a steady pace." We caught another runner just before the turnaround. I'm counting the girls coming back in the other direction. Sonja, obviously way out in front... and then one other making Megan and I 3rd and 4th. For the first time in my running career, I thought about the hardware. I know there's a plaque for top 3. I hit the turn and surged. Bye Megan, that's my plaque. I wanted it for the baby. The headwind was strong and not fun.
The girl in second place was pretty far ahead of me... but I was a bit disappointed to see her struggling. THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE FUN!! Damn you girl for making me get competitive! At this point I was happy with third.... unless I could get second... and seeing her struggle with a mile to go, I knew I could. Damn. I have to work harder than this. I had plenty of real estate to catch her even though she was pretty far up. I didn't need to do anything dramatic. So I just pushed slightly. Of course I caught up to her at the slightest incline... NOW, I would 100% classify this as a pancake flat course, but I'M PREGNANT! the tiniest bump in the road felt mountainous to me, I'm carrying some extra weight, and at this point I have to pee, my core is getting a bit tired so I'm not supporting my bump as well.. Yeah, that 4ft of incline was a hill to me. I pulled up beside a man who pulled up beside the 2nd place girl hoping she wouldn't see me and I could just coast by her... but the man didn't seem interested in passing her with me, so she responded with an amateur surge. Whatever. I checked my watch to see that I still have .4 miles to catch her... The finish looked closer than it was so I knew she couldn't sustain. So I waited until her surge ran her out of gas and then I surged past her. IN HINDSIGHT I should have just sustained the increase in pace, but I was trying to be responsible and not to put myself in the red zone (even though I was reassured several times that I was safe to race as hard as I could comfortably do without pelvic pain... it just felt weird to push to the point where I couldn't breath comfortably... even though it would be less than 2 minutes).. so I returned to my previous pace after the surge and just coasted.
At this point I was just not going to give up second... But I knew that I had enough in the take that if the other girl had a sudden last minute response, mine would still be stronger... I waited for her response, but couldn't hear any footsteps. The announcer said "Here comes the second place girl, followed closely by the third"... but I could tell from her announcement that she wasn't catching me, otherwise I feel it would have been "this is a close one" or something. I looked for the clock (weirdly never thought to check my watch for cumulative time... the settings were all messed up so I didn't know what I was looking at half the time)... But in the last few strides I saw the clock at 20:0x... and I was like "what?! Ahhhhgggghhh!" Mad at myself for not squeaking under that barrier. It would have been nice to say I broke 20:00 pregnant, but 20:04 is still pretty good (and technically I was pregnant when I ran 18:09). WAY better than 7:00/mi.
1. Running postpartum was actually harder for me than running pregnant. This is me 7 months postpartum in ideal conditions running 19:46.... BARELY ahead of my now pregnant self. Granted, I had taken 2 years off of running for injury, surgery, and a baby.... but 7 months and still barely under 20! (I thought for sure I'd be under 19 by this point... I'm not the young chicken I used to be! Lesson 1b.)
2. The faster I run the less "pregnant" I feel... at least until my core gets weak. I think when I'm running slow I don't engage my core muscles as much, and because of that my core does not support my bump as well. This is why the last mile got a bit uncomfortable. While my breathing was still okay, the need to go to the bathroom and the extra weight were much more noticeable. It's not like 20:04 pregnant was easy for me... it was easier than I thought but still hard enough to cause some breakdown in form and fatigue. From here out I'll work on engaging core during regular runs even if they are slow.
3. No matter how much I hate it, I run well in the cold.
I'm considering running a progression run at New Bedford Half Marathon next weekend, but at this point in time it depends on weather and babysitter. What Matt does is more important than what I do, so I'm going to support him the best I can.
For daily updates on my thoughts and emotions on runs you can Follow me on Instagram
OR if you're more data driven you can follow me on Strava
To Scott Mason for SO MANY awesome photos throughout the years. Finally bought one, I want to tell the baby about going to Nationals and running the Celtic 5k someday!
Welcome to my blog! I've been blogging for a long time on various platforms. My intention has never been to reach the masses, but rather to give myself a chance to reflect and journal. I feel it at least challenges me to be somewhat coherent, however you can expect ramblings and grammatical incorrectness here!
I've recently been diagnosed with CECS and fPAES and had it treated with BOTOX of all things... So I suspect to see more and more people looking for answers with that in the future and hope to continue blogging so there will be easy to access follow-ups as that was helpful for me.
NOTE: Apologies that some of the pictures incorrectly load sometimes. I try to keep up with the glitches, but can't always! Hope it doesn't impact the blog experience for all the PAES visitors.