Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Pregnant Marathon- An Update

Well, I did it.  I ran my third marathon.  Not only that, I ran it while 10 weeks pregnant.  Yay!!  So, how did it go?  Not bad.  Not bad at all.

Going in to the race, I had three goals.  The first was merely to finish.  I did not want to have to drop out of the race, and I wanted the sweet swag at the end.  The second, and this wasn't super important, was to finish in under 6 hours.  Normally my goal, which I've yet to reach, is to finish in 5 hours, but I was really allowing myself more time.  My last goal, and this one was fairly important was to finish feeling better than I had in the past.  In the past I've been in a significant amount of pain when I've finished.  I've been sick to my stomach and could think of nothing but sitting and sleeping.  My last marathon, in Minnesota, was particularly bad because I also felt unbelievably cold (a symptom of the weather and the hard work out).  I wanted to feel way better than that, and I wanted to recover quickly.  Well, I succeeded at all three!!!

The Challenges
The biggest challenge was that everything I had used in training all of a sudden had to be thrown out the window.  My energy gels made me sick.  Gatorade made me sick.  Running non-stop and shooting for a 5 hour marathon would probably kill me (or cause significant harm to the little person growing inside me).  Not only that, but I was significantly hungrier than I was a month ago.  I had trouble going 4 miles without getting something to eat.  What was I going to do for this marathon?  I had to quickly come up with a new plan, and I didn't have a long run to test anything on.

My second challenge was purely mental.  I really hadn't had a good run in a while.  I was tired and hungry, and I often felt kind of sick.  I was worried that I'd have trouble making it to mile 3, much less mile 26.2!

The Plan
Hans and I did some quick planning for food.  I might not be able to eat gels, but I could potentially handle peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  And I might not be able to drink Gatorade, but water was fine.  I could only hope this would be enough.  I honestly didn't know what I'd do if I lost too much salt or needed something other than PB & J.  What if PB & J made me sick?  It was a risk I had to take.

As for the mental thing, all I could do was tell myself I could do this.  I would take things much, MUCH slower than I had in the past.  Even much slower than I had on recent training runs, and I would hope for the best.  Hans and my friends were actually great about this.  I had a couple of friends try to convince me to drop to the half (something I almost did), but most just kept telling me I'd be fine and to trust my body. 

Overcoming the Challenges
Luckily, everything went quite well.  The PB&J was PERFECT.  I had two sandwiches cut in quarters and I ended up eating 5 quarters.  I probably could have had 1 or two more, but I did end up supplementing with a couple of Fig Newtons (which surprisingly didn't settle well) and a mini Clif Bar.  Hans and I had mapped out the route and he met up with me just about every 6 miles to make sure I was OK.  That was generally just enough for me to feel hungry and want a sandwich.

The biggest help for the mental thing actually happened at the beginning of the race.  I was really trying to decide if I just wanted to run slowly for as long as possible or if I wanted to try more of a Galloway method (run/walk combo).  As I was thinking about this, I heard two other runners chatting about something that interested me, so I struck up a little conversation.  As it turns out, they were part of a group of Galloway runners!!  I made a quick decision, asked if I could hang with them for the race, and we were off. 

Running with those other runners ended up being the best thing I ever could have done.  It gave me someone to chat with as I ran, and it helped me keep a more consistent pace.  Not only that, it gave me companionship when the race got long and I started to hurt.  However, those runners weren't the only support I had.

I already mentioned that Hans met up with me every 6 miles or so, but I didn't mention that my dad, my dad's girlfriend, and my mom all came out every few miles too.  I also had a few clients and friends that I happened to see along the way.  Lastly, though, for the last 5k Hans decided to run with me.  It's really the first time we've ever run together, and I was thrilled to see him.  To be honest, by that point I kind of wished he could have just carried me, but that's another story.  We were going slow, we were walking more than we should have, but we were together, and Hans was there for me.  By that point, I knew that, no matter what, I would finish the marathon, and I knew that Hans would finish it with me.

As we rounded the turn for the last hill I thought about last year.  Last year was my first marathon.  Last year I was simply happy that I could claim the title "marathoner."  I thought for a moment as to whether I felt differently this year.  Well, I was finishing my third marathon (goal 1), I was finishing in 5:45:20 (goal 2), and I felt tired but fantastic (goal 3).  Still, though, my answer as to how I felt emotionally is the same.  I can't believe I did it.  I can't believe that all those people, random strangers, other runners, my family, I can't believe they were all cheering for me.  That's a pretty spectacular feeling.

And now, some gratuitous photos!

Around mile 11

Mile 16 and feelin' good!

Happy to have finished!  With Hans on my right and Dad on my left.

Standing with the Canal Walk and the city in my background, I'm a 3-time marathoner.

Yep, I finished.
Oh, and one last note, baby is a 2 time marathoner already!!!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Pregnancy Update

First, I have to answer some questions.

I'm officially 9 weeks and 3 days along today.  It's early on, but that's OK.  I'm due June 14, 2014 (Flag Day!).

I have not experience any vomiting, but there has been plenty of nausea.  I also haven't had any consistent cravings, but my eating habits have definitely changed.  I'm eating smaller meals and lighter foods (lots of fruits and veggies).  Honestly, I'm kind of hoping that stays after the pregnancy!

Honestly, my biggest challenge has been eating enough.  I feel full after my meals, and there have definitely been days when I've over eaten or eaten less-than-healthy calories, but my runs are telling me I'm not fueling well.  I'm starting my runs on tired legs, and while I expect to slow down and feel the effects of pregnancy on my runs, I don't necessarily think I should be staring my runs feeling sluggish or worse, sore. 

So, the biggest thing I'm asking myself right now is, is this good for me and will it help my run?  Aside from that, I'm learning to stop asking myself, "Am I hungry or am I thirsty?"  Generally the answer to that one is yes.  I'm both hungry and thirsty.  So, instead of reaching for the candy bar (which really isn't all that appetizing right now anyway), I'm going for that bag full of grapes that I packed this morning.

I'm also making sure to pack tons of snacks for wherever I go.  Apparently, when I get hungry it quickly turns to feeling sick.  So, I always have almonds or grapes or raisins or something with me for a quick pick me up. 

Other than that, I'm just really tired.  That, plus the list of about 10 million things that keeps repeating through my brain has given me what most people refer to as baby brain or pregnancy brain.  Oh boy, has it hit full force!  I can't remember words, I lose track of what I was saying in the middle of a sentence, and holding a conversation of any kind is fairly difficult.  Mostly, what I'm thinking is, "That's nice.  Can I take a nap now?"  Actually, I have a funny baby brain story.  The other day, I came in to work and used the bathroom.  Apparently, I forgot to flush, never changed the roll, and locked the bathroom door as I was leaving the bathroom, thereby locking the rest of the staff out of the bathroom!  That was a little embarrassing.

All in all, though, life is good.  My running buddies have been great about my slower pace, and Hans has been super supportive.  I'm still planning to run the marathon this weekend, although I'm a little nervous about it.  I hope all is well in your lives!

A running photo from this past Saturday, and one of my favorites for the year.  There was a costume theme, hence why I'm wearing the skeleton shirt.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Well, I have some news to share.  First, the vacation went very well.  We were able to spend some much-needed time with Hans family, and we were able to take an even-more needed break.  I did end up running the Mankato Marathon, although I still didn't finish in my desired  time of 5 hours.  I blame myself, though.  I just didn't fuel well enough.  During a long run, one should really consume between 100 and 150 calories per hour.  Unfortunately, during the ENTIRE run, I only consumed about 200 calories (stupid I know).  So, I did great until about mile 20, and then I bonked...big time.  Oh well, my final time was 5:13:??, so not terrible. 

But that's not the news.  The news is...


Our announcement photo.  We announced on Halloween.
  Hans and I are fairly stoked.  In case you're wondering, the answers are:
Yes, this was planned.  Completely and totally.
Yes, we're going to find out the sex.
Yes, we already have names picked out.  Please!  We picked those out over a year ago.
And while we really don't care either way, I'm kind of hoping for a boy.  I'm not sure I'll be able to handle girl drama!  Still, though, as long as our baby is healthy, then I'm a happy mama.

We had our first doctor's appointment today.  Everything looks good.  The heartbeat is strong (171 bpm), and for the first time in my life I looked at an ultrasound and saw a baby, not just a sea monkey.

The top picture makes me think of a mermaid wearing a beanie.
I'm so excited, but I'm also still fairly scared.  It's kind of nerve-wracking knowing everything that could possibly go wrong.  Going in to this first appointment, I had so many worries.  What if there's no heart beat?  What if my positive at-home test was wrong?  What if, what if, what if?  I felt my blood pressure lower and breath release as soon as I saw the image of the little pup.  Today, as I walk around this chill, cloudy day, I seem to carry a secret smile.  What can I say?  I'm happy!

So, I think that covers all the really big stuff.  Oh, except for one thing.  The doctor did say I'm clear to run the Richmond marathon, as long as I listen to my body and eat enough.  So, YAY!  I don't think I'll have any time goals for this one.  I just want to finish!