6 Months Postpartum, Backtracking on Race Updates

I have to be honest, running is going well, but daily life feels like I’m almost drowning, barely staying afloat with not enough hours in the day. Every day I ask myself, “what HAS to be done today?” and that’s what happens while the rest falls to the next day. So naturally, blogging about my racing takes a backseat to my actual racing and training. But here I am, house a complete disaster, but foam rolling while trying to write a blog post about all the running and racing I’ve been doing the first 6 months postpartum. Both boys are sleeping and my girl is in school so let’s see what I can accomplish.

My last post covered my 5 *week* postpartum 5k and I was extremely pleased with that 18:49 and 2nd place finish. If you follow me on Instagram, you know since then I’ve competed in a track race, a 10k as part of a triathlon relay, a 5k, a half marathon, and a 10k and all were races that left me pumped up for days.  I’ll do little recaps of all of these races in the coming weeks, I hope, starting with the track.

Track Meet: I haven’t raced on the track in at least 14 years… since my 2nd year in college! I can’t believe that much time has passed. Even in college, I was plagued with injuries so I really haven’t raced on the track much in life. I’m very much a beginner and have a lot to learn if I decide to compete on a bigger level on the track in the future. Thankfully, this postpartum track meet was very low key, put on by my running club, the Pittsburgh Pharaoh Hounds. I signed up to run the full mile (not 1600), the 3k (because how often do you get to race a 3k?) and the 4×400 meter relay. I was 3 months postpartum at the time (knocking on the door of 4 months postpartum) and was curious to see how I would run for a few reasons.

  • First, we arrived back in Pittsburgh at 1am the day before the meet from a 5 week west coast family vacation and I knew I would be tired (this vacation was not all fun and games as we had a 6 year old, 2 year old, and 2-3 month old baby traveling from Pennsylvania to Washington through Oregon and California, back to Washington then Pennsylvania by both car and plane. Some of this was for my husband’s work and part was just family fun. It was mostly great fun and manageable with a few rough spots of “Ahhhh… I’m alone in a new city with 3 kids, husband is gone all day+night and what on earth are we going to do?!” but it all worked out pretty well. (I’m comfortable breastfeeding in public and hanging out with all 3 kids in public without another adult. If that wasn’t the case, this trip could have been a nightmare!) :)
  • Next, We had been living in mostly 55 degree weather and were coming back to Pittsburgh’s heat and humidity. The track meet was scheduled to start at 6pm and temperature at start time was supposed to be 95+ degrees. Typically, I don’t do well in heat, and especially not for the first year postpartum.
  • As stated above, I was 3 months postpartum.
  • I haven’t raced a mile, 3k or 4×4 relay in a VERY long time!

I was (and still am) breastfeeding so I pumped milk until completely empty and packed that bottle right before we left for the meet. My husband and older two kids were also racing and the baby didn’t accept bottles from me at the time (he would take bottles just fine from others at that point, but that was something we had to work at as he didn’t love bottles initially). I put the bottle on ice even though my baby is particular about body temperature milk! It was too hot to leave the milk out for a few hours. I hoped he would accept the milk fine when the time came and he did. I ended up keeping it on ice until it was about 15 mins before I thought he’d want it then I let it sit in the heat of day in the stroller and he took it just fine. Whew!

I could have breastfed during the meet and I have breastfed at races, but with my husband and other kids running too I wanted to prep as much beforehand as possible. I wasn’t sure how much time would be between events and between the 4 members of my family racing different events, we ran almost every event of the track meet! I wanted to be around to cheer and take photos of the bigger kids so a bottle was a good choice for me that day. I also wanted to run my first race with as little milk inside me as possible and pumping right before leaving for the meet that was 2 miles away from my house was perfect.

The mile: I had seeded myself with a 5:10 mile and 11:00 3k a month earlier. I immediately regretted submitting those times. I felt like such an idiot expecting to run that fast postpartum, in the heat and felt so embarrassed that my time was listed there for everyone to see. At the same time, I actually thought there was a chance I could run sub 5:00. Does anyone else’s runner brain do that? I can feel 100% foolish about a race goal, yet feel 100% confident that I could do even better. Strange. Anyway, I started the mile in the back on the first lap and picked people off until the last lap with about 200 meters to go when I passed the last guy and won my heat in 5:13! I was elated to feel so good running fast and get close to my seeded time.

Racing the mile, last lap

Racing the mile, last lap

The 3k: Next was the 3k maybe an hour later, I really don’t remember how long I had between events. I was snacking on a Picky Bar and water between events. My kids ran the 100 and 200 in there somewhere and I was just listening for the announcer to call the events. I was slightly worried about what I would have left for the 3k while also being excited to get back out on the track and push through some pain. I felt ok in the 3k for the first 2 laps, then it was a struggle but I finished much under my time goal in 10:25 for about a 5th place finish in my heat, first female. After the race I asked my husband “did I look like I was…” and I was going to say “cruising” because I was in pain, but I felt like I had a good rhythm. He finished my sentence with “struggling”. Hahaha!!! He is the most supportive, yet realistic husband ever and I still laugh when I think of this interaction. Obviously I looked worse than I thought. :)

First time in starting blocks!

First time in starting blocks!

My husband ran the 5k immediately after my 3k so I think his warmup wasn’t perfect but what’s ever perfect when juggling 3 kids and racing, right?! He is very good about showing up last minute and performing and we proudly cheered him on as a family!

The 4×4: Finally, right after the 5k we did a family 4×400 meter relay and it was the most awesome thing ever! I was the first leg of our relay. I handed off the baton to my 6 year old daughter who handed off to our 2 year old son, who handed off to my husband! We were last place by so much but it was an amazing experience! My son even fell on the final straightaway and as he laid on the ground unsure of whether to cry or quit and run into the infield, everyone on the track and in the stands started clapping for him and he got up and finished. It was such a beautiful moment!

Family post relay!

Family post relay!

So, it was an exciting evening. I got home and fed the baby, ate dinner, and tried to go to sleep, though night races always leave me wired and my body was still on PST. The baby was sleeping like a champ at the time so I recovered well and kept up the training. My next race would be a 10k as part of a triathlon relay and I wanted to start to mentally prepare for hurting for a longer amount of time…

Pittsburgh Marathon 5k, 2nd Female, 18:49!

I am delighted to say I ran the Pittsburgh Marathon 5k on Saturday in 18:49 and was second female! I’ve never participated in a race so soon postpartum, but Pittsburgh Marathon weekend is one of my favorite weekends and I couldn’t let it pass without participating in something as long as I was feeling healthy and running. The goal was to run fast, but not all out. Afterall, my baby turned 5 weeks old the day before the race. I told my coach it would be like a true time trial to show where I’m starting and if anything felt bad or weird at any point I would just jog/walk it in. It wasn’t meant to be a true race effort, just my first harder effort post baby and I was pretty excited.

pittsburgh marathon 5k finish

My good friend cheered her head off and captured this shot at the 3 mile mark!

*I should also note that I was lucky to have the least complicated labor this time around. It was vaginal, fairly quick (less than 3 hours of pain), and no ripping/tearing during delivery and very little swelling after. This helped my body feel normal much quicker. Coming back to running and especially harder efforts would not have been possible with another scenario so I got lucky.*

I didn’t run anything fast at all since having the baby until the race. My runs have all been easy pace ranging from 7:50/mile to 9:00/mile. I have been trying to just get in some miles and return cautiously. My coach told me I couldn’t even do strides on my training runs. I thought doing some strides might remind my legs they have speed before the race but he told me to just take it easy and I listened!

In the week leading up to the race, I chatted with 2 friends about time goals. I told them each I had this crazy thought that I would run sub 20 minutes, but that was only if everything was perfect. In reality, I thought I would run 21-22 minutes and that would be great! And I had these thoughts in my head, but I didn’t set a limit to what I could do. To be honest, in a dream world that I didn’t really believe, yet didn’t rule out either, I thought it would be cool to run 18:45, or 6:00/mile pace. This sort of came to me as I was running with my friend Kate and she was telling me she believed in me and reminded me to reflect on postpartum races and workouts of the past.

Race morning was just as hectic as every morning. I got up at 6am (8am race start time), quickly got partially dressed (everything but my sports bra/tank since I needed to feed the baby and pump). I ate breakfast, got my older son and daughter ready, fed the baby, pumped the rest of the milk out, finished getting ready and we left the house at 7am, 15 minutes behind schedule. We got downtown around 7:20 and waited in line for our bibs since I didn’t have time to get them at the expo the day before. Because the race day bib pickup lines were long, I didn’t start my warmup until 7:35. I probably jogged about 1/2 mile, did my first strides in FOREVER and felt super awkward on those.

Thankfully my in-laws came to town for the race so my husband and I could both do the 5k. I thought maybe I should feed the baby one more time before the race since I could already feel my chest getting heavier, but there was no time. I pulled on a second sports bra and knew baby and I would both be fine. We took off for the start line and left the in-laws to find a cheer spot with all 3 kids – sons in the double stroller and daughter on foot.

Crazy bouncing singlet! I'm 10lbs heavier than normal and can't fit into any of my racing stuff right now, but luckily purchased this oversized singlet from my running club, the Pittsburgh Pharaoh Hounds, when I was pregnant and needed something to race in last fall. Now it's too big, but better than something that's too small and it was bouncing around like crazy the whole race!

Crazy bouncing singlet! I’m 10lbs heavier than normal and can’t fit into any of my racing stuff right now, but luckily purchased this oversized singlet to represent my running club, the Pittsburgh Pharaoh Hounds, when I was pregnant and needed something to race in last fall. Now it’s too big (but better than something that’s too small) and it was rolling up and bouncing around like crazy the whole race!

There isn’t too much to report on the actual race. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to check my Garmin and know my splits during the race or not, but that was decided for me as there were clocks at the different mile markers. When I saw the 1 mile mark clock in the distance and it said 5:40 I was a little shocked. The first mile felt so comfortable, maybe like a tempo run, not a race, and by the time I hit one mile it read about 6:10. Mile 2 was less comfortable, but still felt pretty good! That mile was a bit faster, about 6:05 and I was just so pumped about how I was keeping this pace feeling so strong. The last mile was my fastest, sub 6:00 pace and I stayed strong through the finish line. I was so surprised that I pressed the “lap” button at first instead of “stop” but guessed my time was probably just over 18:50. (I later saw official results and found I was just UNDER 18:50, at 18:49 woohoo!)

My daughter took this photo in the finish area!

My daughter took this photo in the finish area!

I talked to a few friends as my husband and I went through the finish shoot then we reunited with our family. My daughter took a picture of us then my husband went for his cooldown while I quickly nursed the baby as my daughter was set to start the Kids Marathon in less than 30 minutes and we had to walk to the start line over 1/2 mile away. Of course she wanted to run most of the way there!

high five during kids marathon

My daughter giving a high five to Daddy during the race!

My daughter had an awesome time running the Kids Marathon. I ran with her as my cooldown. We spent a few hours hanging out in the finish line area. They have tons of kids activities during the day and the kids always have so much fun! A few hours later, my older son did the Toddler Trot. Of course my baby was screaming his head off because he was hungry right then so I was walking to the race area while trying to nurse the baby. #multitasking at it’s finest.

Pittsburgh Marathon toddler trot

My son and husband before the Toddler Trot

I was surprised to feel really good the next morning (Sunday) but I wanted to take it really easy to be smart. For my run, I went to the 15 mile mark of the Pittsburgh Marathon course, just 1/2 mile from my house, and ran back and forth over a 3 city block area, cheering for everyone who passed! It was the best way to spend the morning until I had to be home to feed the baby again. I love running the Pittsburgh Marathon (half) partly because the fans and cheer sections are so awesome! Since I’m always running the event, I’ve never been able to cheer even though it passes so close to my house. It was so nice to be on the other side this year and be part of the amazing Pittsburgh cheer sections!

A lot of people (myself included) asked me after the race “how did you do it?!” I’ve done some thinking about it and here are my answers.

  1. I was in killer marathon shape when I unexpectedly got pregnant. I was in the best shape of my life and was gearing up to run a whole marathon at the pace I ran the 5k this weekend. Since I ran through my whole pregnancy (though I only ran easy runs and did 20-30 miles a week with that being on the lower end as I got closer to my due date) I was able to maintain some fitness.
  2. I went into the race physically well rested. Although I’m getting up in the middle of the night and not sleeping as much as I’d like, I’m taking my physical activity really easy. I had 3 weeks completely off running, And have come back slowly with short, easy runs the next 2 weeks, and a day off 2 days before the race just to let my body completely rest.
  3. Big cheer section. I can’t thank all my friends enough for showing up on the course and cheering! I heard my name so many times and it made the run feel pretty effortless (as far as racing goes anyway!)
  4. Belief in what I can do. This should probably be #1 on the list. While I was shocked at how fast my time was, I knew deep down it was possible. I didn’t expect too much from myself, but also didn’t put a limit on what I could do. I spent the first 16 years of my running life putting limits on myself and only started seeing my potential when I learned to start letting that go (I’m still working on this aspect of my racing and life, but I’m leaps and bounds from where I was just a few years ago.

I talked to my coach this morning and got the go ahead to do 30 miles this week if everything feels good. I ended last week with just under 22 miles with one day completely off.

Thank you everyone for the encouragement and cheers and for following along! I really appreciate it!


Return to Running!

Back to running!

Back to running!

I am running again! To backtrack a bit, I ran all the way through my pregnancy, until the day I went to the hospital to give birth. I averaged about 20 miles a week toward the end and my runs were 1-2 minutes/mile slower than my normal easy days (which are already very slow/easy compared to my workout/race days).

One of my last runs before Baby Ryles was born, added bonus of having my big girl on the bike.

One of my last runs before Baby Ryles was born, added bonus of having my big girl on the bike.

So this post will outline what has worked for me in the past and what seems to be working for me in the present. I’m not saying this is right for everyone, but it’s a glimpse into my journey back to running. I would strongly urge everyone to listen to their body and not get caught up in “this person started earlier/later than me”. It’s definitely better to start cautiously slow than to come back too fast.

How to decide it’s time to start running again:

  • When your body feels normal again – After carrying a baby for 9 months, everything in the general stomach area feels a bit jumbled and out of place. It’s been making room for this giant thing growing inside and it takes a little while for everything to navigate back into place. For me, this usually takes a few weeks.
  • When you stop bleeding – Did you know a mother will bleed for usually 2-6 weeks after having a baby? I had no idea when I had my first child. I always figure my body is getting back to normal when the bleeding stops. With my first child, this was 4 weeks. With my second, it was 3.5 weeks, with my third, it was 3 weeks.
  • What does your doctor/midwife/healthcare professional say – While I do believe in finding a good healthcare professional, I know many women struggle with someone who is stuck in the past, thinking running isn’t good during pregnancy or for a long time after. I’ve always had a return to running plan (based on what I’m writing here) and I always tell it to my healthcare provider instead of waiting for them to tell me what THEY want me to do. And I’ve always gotten the green light. I try to take control because I’m the only one who truly knows how my body feels. And I personally wouldn’t run if I didn’t know my body was ready because a HEALTHY return to running is more important to me than a few extra days of running that will result in injury or other bodily harm.
  • When do you feel like it – If you are exhausted and struggling to make it through daily life and have no desire to run, it might not be a good time to start. If you are itching to get back out there and are feeling great, go for it! If you are itching to get out and run and you are feeling horrible, it’s probably still a good time to go for it! I know the first few runs for me are always very freeing and exciting because it reminds me of my “normal life” before this new addition and gives me a better sense of myself and that everything is going to be OK!

With my first child, I took 4 weeks completely off running. With my second, I took 3.5 weeks. With my third, I took exactly 3 weeks off. So what did I do before starting running? Well, I guess that’s pretty obvious – love on my new baby and try to figure out our “new normal”. Of course with kids things are always changing and just when you think you have some sort of pattern or schedule, the kid throws something new at you! But there was definitely plenty to do in those first 3 weeks and while I missed running, I was completely ok without it too!

I wasn’t completely away from a fitness routine while I wasn’t running. With all 3 of my kids, I sort of instinctively started doing really simple ab work from day 1 or 2 postpartum. When I say simple, I mean VERY basic. I would concentrate on my abs (truly sitting there and thinking about them activating for a moment) then focus on pulling them together, up and in and holding. The first day, I really couldn’t even locate my abs to be honest, but I still worked on trying to find them and going through the motion in my mind. The next day I could do it a little.

And I kept going from there. While loving on my little guy, or while playing with/reading to my other 2 kids I would continue working on engaging my abs. At 5 days postpartum, I did 10 minutes of mind/body balance yoga. At 1 week postpartum, I added in some balancing on the bosu ball (My balance is really horrible right now!), some clamshells, and bird/dog. I’ve continued on this routine about 4 times a week since.

In terms of running, I’ve been back to it a little over a week now. I have done between 2 and 3.3 miles a day, until last Saturday when I ran a “long run” of 5.2 miles with friends. And yesterday I did the same 5.2 mile loop with my friend Kate. I’m just running easy and although I’m pretty exhausted (from having a newborn and 2 energetic kids at home with little sleep!) the running feels great!

It’s definitely different this time. When I had my first child, I came back to running feeling like a stranger. My first run felt awkward. It was as if I was watching myself in a dream – I didn’t feel like a “real person” doing “real running”. I didn’t have any goals, I didn’t know what to expect, and I didn’t have any running mom mentors or examples to follow. (This is just one reason why I think social media is awesome. As much as people, myself included, complain about the “comparison trap”, it’s so nice to have other examples to follow. You can learn from other people’s success and mistakes and know you aren’t alone.) After my 2nd child, I came back to running easier but it still felt foreign. I got back into workouts and built my mileage faster than after my first child, but I still came back slowly, cautiously, and smart. (I hit a big half marathon PR at 15 months postpartum, 1:15:59!)

This time around has been completely different. I started back running after 3 weeks off and from my first run, I felt like I hadn’t missed a beat. Well, I feel out of shape for sure, but mentally it seemed as though I had just run my normal trails the day before. I felt completely “with it” mentally and emotionally and it was such a great, and unexpected feeling.

Hotel bathroom selfie before heading out for one of my first postpartum runs.

Hotel bathroom selfie before heading out for one of my first postpartum runs.

As far as fitness goes, I have a long way back. As far as my body goes, same thing. I’ve noticed my balance is horrible. Just standing on one leg can lead me to topple over if I’m not paying attention. If one of my kids holds onto me for support while I’m squatting to tie my shoes, I’m going to fall down for sure. I’m not normally a person to get on a scale, and I don’t care how much I weigh, but I have a general idea of my weight because of doctor appointments and I’m about 12 pounds heavier than my normal racing weight right now. My body wiggles and jiggles everywhere except from my knees down, my elbows out, and my neck up. I don’t say that to sound insensitive. I told that to some girlfriends who lightheartedly joked with me that wiggles and jiggles are just “the norm” for them while running even when they are in shape. I think it’s important to mention since some women have a baby and expect to be back to their normal body ASAP. It just doesn’t work like that, especially not if you are getting back into shape in a healthy way.

The most painful wiggles and jiggles come from my much larger than normal breasts! Even though I pump until there’s nothing left immediately before my run (both for relief when running and also to build my supply for freedom to race and travel later), I still can’t believe what a huge difference I feel in my chest when running. I’m used to being a B cup and now I’m a full C/D cup. This added weight gives me shoulder and back discomfort. I know lots of women deal with this normally so I shouldn’t complain. I’m just saying I really feel your pain!

I also have a good 3-4 finger width ab separation (diastasis recti). I’ve had this problem after each baby and have been able to keep it under control doing exercises such as the ones in Steph’s post. I highly recommend this post! I will talk to my midwife at my 6 week appointment to make sure nothing crazy is going on this time and hope they pull back together with time (and lots of work!)

For now, I continue base building. Thanks for reading and following along! I hope the tips are helpful!!

Finally Feeling Fast, 3 Races, A 5k PR

Whoa! Time is flying!

I’ve raced 3 times since my last update. The Deschutes Twilight 5k on 8/14/14 (17:14), Boy Scout Half Marathon on 8/30/14 (1:22:19 *workout*) and Steelers 5k on 9/1/14 (16:38). Despite my best efforts to post race recaps, some training updates and some general this-is-how-I’m-feeling-postpartum running, I just choose sleep over everything else. So let’s start with that:


Wells is 11 months old and covering the whole couch!

Wells is 11 months old and covering the whole couch!


My baby just turned 11 months old! He was an expert sleeper from almost the very beginning, sleeping through the night very early. Then he started getting teeth and little colds here and there and I have been up with him at least 2 times a night almost every night for the past few months. Some nights, we are up much more! I try to take a 15-20 min nap each day while he is napping and while my 4 year old is doing something quietly but it doesn’t always happen. Long story short, sleep is still something I need to work on, but I don’t have a lot of control over that right now.

Postpartum feelings towards training:

Right around 10.5 months postpartum, approximately 3 weeks ago, my training started to feel right again. I started feeling like running was less of a struggle and more of *my thing*. I wouldn’t say running and workouts are easy – I’m training hard! I just think it’s all starting to feel right and I’m feeling like myself again. Coming back from both pregnancies, I had time where I was struggling to feel fast and then one day it clicked. That clicking point was right around 10-11 months postpartum both times for me. It might be different for you but if you have the desire, keep trying! (And let me just add here that if you don’t feel great after having the baby, just use the time to enjoy your baby and stop stressing about being fast again! The speed will come, and running will be there waiting when you are ready, but you really never will get that teeny tiny snuggle bug time back from your babe. Don’t feel guilty if you aren’t loving postpartum running. It’s ok to be patient and enjoy the early months/years of motherhood.)

Wells at 10 months. He's walking and my life just got more interesting...

Wells at 10 months. He’s walking and my life just got more interesting…


Do you even care about my workouts? I don’t know. I go back and forth about posting times, distances, splits because I hate the comparison game. What works for me might be the wrong path for you. But, for those who want to know, I’ll tell you about some of my workouts lately.

I’m ultimately training for a late fall marathon, but a few weeks before the Deschutes 5k, I wanted to whip my legs into some speedy shape. I had been running 60-65 miles a week with one workout and 2 days of a few 20 second strides. Two weeks before Deschutes 5k (my first 5k since baby #2!) I did 6×400 meters at the track. It started with a 2 mile warmup, then I ran 71, 71, 72, 71, 72, 72. I had a 2 minute walk break between each rep. The workout was a big shock to my system. My breathing was like wheezing. My legs were like jello. My body hadn’t run anything like that in about 2 years! But I was pretty happy with the paces. Ok, I wanted to dip below 70, but it wasn’t happening. I finished with 2 miles cooldown with the double jogging stroller and that was my workout that week.

One week before Deschutes 5k, I ran 5x1k with 2 minutes walk rest on the track. I was supposed to hit an overall pace faster than my 5k PR (16:40). I was terrified of this workout. I didn’t feel like I was ready for it at all. I pumped myself up by talking (to myself) about the paces every day. “You just have to hit 80 second laps. You ran 71s and 72s last week. This will feel much more comfortable”. Then the little devil on my shoulder told me “but last week it was only one lap. This week it will be 2.5 laps!” I kept squashing that negative voice with positive ones. Sure enough, on workout day, I hit my paces just as planned and had an overall 5k time of 16:36. My legs remembered they are fast and I felt ready for a 5k.

Deschutes Twilight 5k:

Pre-Race shot of #birdcamp racers! Photo credit to Thomas and Velo Photography!

Pre-Race shot of #birdcamp racers! Photo credit to Thomas and Velo Photography!

I ran this race, my first 5k since baby #2, when Wells was 10 months old 8/14/14. I finished in a time of 17:14 and was ecstatic to feel good and strong. I decided the race was going to be painful and I needed to accept it and I think that powered me through to the time I wanted. I would have been excited about anything under 17:30, so I was very pleased with this time. Since it was an evening race (7pm) I ran 3-4 miles that morning, then a 3 mile warmup, then the race, then another 3 miles for cooldown. I shared all of those runs with Heidi, aka “The Goddess”, which made them even more enjoyable!

Close to the finish. Another Thomas and Velo Photography gem.

Close to the finish. Another Thomas and Velo Photography gem.

Boy Scout Half Marathon:

I ran the Boy Scout Half Marathon about 2 weeks later on 8/30/14 and was 1st female in 1:22:19. This was the slowest half I’ve run since I started training for half marathons. (I ran a few slower when I signed up on a whim while running 4 miles a day in my 20s.) I originally planned to race this half all-out, aiming for a PR. Then I decided to also race the Steelers 5k 2 days later and decided to make a race-day decision on how fast I would run the half.

The night before the Boy Scout Half, I was up all night. Ok, that’s not true. I slept one hour, from 4am-5am. My little guy, in true night-before-a-race fashion, got a bad cold and couldn’t breathe out of his nose. He couldn’t get comfy and couldn’t fall asleep so I rocked him, snuggled him, played with him, breastfed him, over and over again and he just cried and cried. He fell asleep a few times and as soon as I put him down, he woke up wailing. At 4am, I saw my mom in the kitchen and she saw me and Wells awake and told me “Go to bed! Why didn’t you wake me up!?!?!” So, I went to bed and slept until my alarm at 5.

I didn’t feel too bad after getting that hour of sleep. I think I was riding some sort of SuperMom rush mixed with so-tired-I’m-not-tired energy. We arrived at the race and I realized it was going to be hot, very humid, and windy! I did a warmup with my brother Josh, ran into my friend from high school (Breezy), saw another running friend (Emily) then it was time to race. I had decided the plan was to just run fast enough to win. I knew the lack of sleep was going to get to me (especially since I didn’t get more than 6 hours of sleep in the few days leading up to the worst night). When I realized no women were lining up in the first 10 rows or so, I had a feeling I’d be racing alone. I was right.

I needed a bathroom break before the start, but didn’t feel like waiting in line and figured I’d probably be doing more of a workout than race pace so I skipped that last restroom break. This was a poor choice as I was forced to run fartlek style (ha) from mile 8 on. The first 8 miles were uneventful. Me running, sometimes catching up to guys and saying a few words, no one wanting to chat back, then loneliness. I was really hot and the wind was against us on those country roads which was good because it had a cooling effect, but bad because we were running against the wind! The last 5 miles had me picking up the pace when my stomach could handle it, then slowing way down trying to calm the #poopprobz. I kept eyeing porta potties but didn’t want to stop because I wanted to just finish, get the course record of 1:21:53, and be done. By the last 2 miles, I was looking anywhere to stop. I knew there was going to be super slow walking, stopping, or a big problem. By this time we were in town and people were everywhere so I couldn’t just duck in a cornfield. Long story short, I made it to the finish without an accident, but the last mile involved slowing to a strange tip-toe walk at certain points, missing the course record by about 30 seconds, and jogging slowly into the finish. Ugh, at least I had a smile on my face at the finish. Thanks to my awesome sister-in-law Megan for taking this photo!

A few meters before the finish line!

A few meters before the finish line!

I have to say the course support was awesome for this tiny race in Bowling Green, Ohio. Boy Scouts were all over the course handing out water, Gatorade, and Gu! They were so cute and I took something to drink/eat at every location. I would definitely run this race again (I’ll just make sure to use the restroom next time!) I walked away without the course record, but with a good workout under my belt and $500 richer. I ended the day with 17 miles.

After the race, I went to my parents’ house and took a 15 minute nap, then took the kids to meet my sister and her family for their county fair. The cousins rode rides and I tried to survive my exhaustion. This was a poor move on my part since I really needed sleep, but luckily, it turned out ok. I had promised my daughter we would go to the fair and I didn’t want to back out, even though I was exhausted. I filled my thermos with coffee and had a nice afternoon with my sister and kids. Then we made the 4.5 hour drive back to Pittsburgh (my parents and my sister’s kids drove their car to Pittsburgh and my sister rode with me and my kids to help keep me awake on the drive. They wanted to spend more time with us for the long Labor Day weekend and I was happy to have them). I passed out just after midnight, got 6.5 hours of sleep and somehow woke feeling rejuvenated.

Steelers 5k:

Post 5k PR race!

Post 5k PR race!

After the Boy Scout Half, I had a day of recovery before the Steelers 5k. I did 5.2 miles easy with 1 stride on the CMU track. I was running in a downpour, rain so heavy I couldn’t see and had periods of running in water up to my ankles, so there was no point in running any other strides or trying to go longer. The rest of the day was pretty uneventful, laying low with my family and celebrating my mom’s birthday and Wells’ one year birthday a month early since part of my family was in town!


I woke up on Monday feeling pretty good, legs feeling light and happy. At that moment I was happy I took the half easy so I could hopefully race a 5k PR. I stepped outside and was a little bummed with another day of extreme humidity. I described it as “soupy” outside. Pretty gross. I raced in my newest Oiselle singlet and Flyte shorts. I almost pulled off the singlet at the last second because the humidity had it sticking to me, but decided 3 miles is too short to matter much. Before I knew it, the race started.

I took the first mile out harder than I wanted. I got excited, passed the girl in front of me, and kept my eye on Tim, who helped me push through the finish at the Pittsburgh Half this year. I passed Tim and tried to keep pushing the second mile, but it was slower. There was a hairpin turn during this mile and right after that turn, the girl who ended up winning passed me. She dropped me like I was standing still, and I was really slowing down! I caught up to my husband Jeff and he encouraged me to go up and get that girl, but I just couldn’t… or wouldn’t. I had a loser attitude and decided I was hurting badly enough and 2nd place was fine. I don’t like having that loser attitude and it always gives me race regret so hopefully I won’t get in that mindset next time!

I was lucky enough to have Steph out on the course cheering and my dad as well! They both lifted my spirits and helped the finish line feel closer! When I finally entered Heinz Field, I looked at the clock and saw 16:20s! OMG! I can PR! Speed up! Go get it! I sped up just a tad and got that PR, 16:38.09 to be exact! Woohoo! My hard work is finally paying off.

I ended up getting Steelers tickets, VIP tent buffet on race day, a football, a Steelers hat, a huge bouquet of flowers, and a medal.  Currie quickly claimed everything but the tickets. I hid those!

Top 5 women, photo cred: Steelers.com

Top 5 women, photo cred: Steelers.com

Currie with my winnings

Currie with my winnings

Jeff and me post-race!

Jeff and me post-race!

I did a cooldown with my new running group the Pittsburgh Pharaoh Hounds before heading to Sandcastle Water Park with my family for their last operating day of the season.

Wow, thanks for reading all of this rambling and thank you so much for all of the cheers and encouragement!

My next race will most likely be The Great Race (10k) here in Pittsburgh on 9/28/14. (You know, where my water broke under the start line 2 days before last year’s race?!) Wells will be 1 year + 1 day old for this race and I’m excited to race a 10k and see what I can do!


Glass City Half Marathon 2014

I raced the Glass City Half Marathon on Sunday. I was 2nd woman, running 1:19:23 and got $200 in prize money. This was my first half marathon since having Wells, who turned 7 months old on race day!

7 months old!

7 months old!

I am very happy with the race, as I thought my best case scenario time was 1:20 (based on my tempo runs and other workouts, plus looking back at my first half after having Currie and my training leading up to that. I just happened to be 7 months postpartum with her when I ran my first half as well and I ran 1:21:52.)

I raced Glass City Half back in 2011 in 1:18:45. I really like the flat, fast course (just a few rollers, but nothing I’d consider a “hill” especially since moving to Pittsburgh!) The only thing I didn’t like about the course in 2011 was the horrible headwind the last few miles. We had that same headwind this year, but not as strong.

So, here’s the RUNdown:

Woke up at 4am (7am race start) and downed a Smooth Caffeinator Picky Bar, a pack of Generation UCAN mixed with 16oz water (I have Cran-Raz and can’t stand the taste to be honest but I think it’s a good product), 2 cups of hotel coffee all by 5am. 20 minutes before gun time I had a peppermint GU that expired 2 years ago. (Tasted just fine!) I pinned a non-expired espresso GU to the inside of my shorts for later. I never ended up using that GU because of pre-race-poop problems. I raced in my Oiselle singlet and Mac Roga because at 38 degrees and windy at the start it was slightly too chilly for a bra top and buns.

I felt kind of rushed from the time we arrived, getting my warmup done (2.3 mile warmup), getting to the start and gear drop off. We were able to use restrooms inside Savage Arena but they were upstairs so we had to walk up and down multiple times which ended up being a bit of a time killer. I was happy to run into a high school friend while in Savage Arena. She was running her first half and made her time goal of breaking 2 hours! (Great job Stephanie!)

All of a sudden, I realized it was time to head to the start line, in fact, it was a little later than I’d usually head over. I never did get my gear dropped off in the official tent, but thank goodness my sister-in-law was with us and took care of it for me and my older brother who was also racing! Thanks Megan! I was able to do 2 short strides, and heard a few people yelling my name. It was 2 of my high school friends who were getting ready to race the relay! I ran over and hugged them. Thanks Amanda and Breezy! That really brightened my morning! I lined up in the 2nd-3rd row at the start line and the gun went off.

Mile 1:

I positioned myself behind 2 ladies I didn’t know at the time. I knew there was an elite field of approximately 20 men and women and know from the past the winning time is usually 1:17-1:19. My goal was to start off at 6:10-6:15 pace to see how it felt and work down as the race went on. My first mile was 6:11 and felt very comfortable.

Mile 2 & 3:

This mile buzzed by as well. I ran 5:57 for both and was sort of tucked in behind a guy. The wind was at our backs. The first 2 women were still ahead of me. I took a sip of water at the first water stop and tossed the cup into the garbage can. She shoots, she scores!

Mile 4 & 5:

I was expected to start feeling the hurt at this point, but I still felt good. I ran 6:01 and 5:59 and the guy I was holding onto dropped me. I was in no-man’s land. I raced alone for the remainder of the race. I got another sip of water and tried to make a basket in the garbage can but missed!

Mile 6:

This is where I started feeling the urge to poop. Oh great. (I think the early race start and being rushed before the race contributed to me not getting my pre-race-poop (PRP) out. I was 90% sure I was going to have to stop the race and poop on the side of the street before I saw the finish line, similar to my Cleveland Marathon experience of 2011. Thank goodness, the urge kept getting stronger but I was able to make it to the end of this half without a potty break!) This is also where I planned to start taking my next GU. I knew if I took in any gel or even much more water I wouldn’t be able to make it to the end without a bathroom break so I skipped the GU altogether. I slowed slightly to calm my stomach and this mile was 6:06.

Mile 7 & 8:

Other than the PRP problem, these 2 miles (the miles I originally thought would be my most challenging) flew by! I had equal feelings of panic that I would poop my pants and so much strength. I couldn’t believe I was over halfway done and felt like the race just started! I passed one woman in these miles and took another sip of water. I was shocked when I saw the 9 mile marker ahead! I completely missed the 7 and 8 mile markers. I ran 6:05 and 6:08.

Coming up on the 2nd place woman.

Coming up on the 2nd place woman. Photos from Dave’s Performance Footgear!

glasscity2014Miles 9, 10, 11:

6:01, 6:04, 6:01. I was just running by myself, eyes on the 1st place woman. I gained a little on her and decided I was going to win this race (which sounds silly now, since I didn’t win, but I was still feeling so strong. It was unbelievable!) I took a sip of Gatorade and a sip of water. People were urging me to catch that #1 girl!

Mile 12:

Oh boy, this was my worst mile of all. Ran 6:13 and I’m shocked it was that fast. I was scanning the area for a porta potty, sure I wouldn’t be able to finish without a pit stop. I slowed a bit, hoping my stomach could calm down and I could make it to the finish. It did calm down a bit.

Mile 13:

I ran this in 5:58, still feeling good! I knew at this point I could make it without a potty break! I kept it strong and smooth and felt wonderful hearing everyone cheer as I closed in on the finish line.

Last .1:

This was in 5:59 pace. I ended 31 seconds back from first place, feeling better than I’ve ever felt at the end of a half marathon! And very relieved I made it without an accident! :)

After the race, I was able to reunite with my brother and do a few miles of cooldown with him. And of course use the restroom!!



I was also able to pose with the Pink Panther and reunite with fellow Oiselle teammate, Deloris who I haven’t seen since early 2012!

glasscity2014_4 glasscity2014_5

Overall, this race gave me a lot of hope for the rest of the training cycle. I’ve been a bit overwhelmed lately, telling my husband I feel like I’m drowning most days with the training load and making sure I’m being a good parent and wife and keeping my house at a general level of cleanliness while my he travels and works a lot. My running has been getting better and “easier”, but I was definitely questioning my fitness before the race. I’m still trying to take everything day by day. I think many parents (and people in general) get these feelings at times and just try to make it through each day. Eventually we come out on the up-side and it feels so good.

This week is all about recovery as I’m racing the Pittsburgh Half Marathon this weekend! A few people have asked me “which race are you trying to run fast, Glass City or Pittsburgh?” My reply is “both”. I want to run fast again this weekend. The key is staying healthy this week and recovering from Glass City. Both of my kids have horrible colds right now so I’m concentrating on sleep and Emergen-C!

Thanks for reading and for all of the encouragement, friends!

Any PRP stories to share?

Ever race back-to-back half marathons?

Would you consume an expired GU?



The #Selfie

Wells is 18 weeks old today!

Hey you! Yeah, I'm talking to you!

Hey you! Yeah, I’m talking to you!

And we’ll switch things up and do my 18 weeks postpartum pic right here in the beginning. (Excuse the red splotches on my skin. I got home from a run and immediately ripped my layers off and threw on the Oiselle pro kit in about 30 seconds to get this shot before Jeff had to leave for work):

18 weeks postpartum!

18 weeks postpartum!

If you follow me on instagram or twitter, you know I love to share pics of my little ones. Maybe you also noticed I love to share the selfies. Did you know #selfie was “the word” of 2013?! I didn’t realize that until this NYE when I saw it on one of the tv specials. Then, we were sitting as a family, streaming my iPhone photos from 2013 on our tv, watching the year pass by and seeing how the kids have grown. Every 50 pics or so, some random selfie would pop up and I would be embarrassed. The selfies were almost never anything special… just something I decided was share-worthy in the post-run or post-coffee high of the moment. Seriously, photos like this kept popping up and I would cringe:

Oh hey family, look, I have beading on my shirt. I gotta take a selfie!!

Oh hey, look, I have beading on my shirt. I gotta take a selfie!!

And this:

Not in running clothes?! Sitting in front of a piano?! People HAVE to see this!

Not in running clothes?! Sitting awkwardly in front of a piano?! People HAVE to see this!

So on that night, I decided to stop taking so many selfies… WHAT IS THIS ADDING TO THE WORLD?! Why am I doing this?!

Then I started considering…

I love to run outside, and almost every time I go for a run I see someone taking a selfie. Many of them are runners who stop somewhere on the trail to show some amazing physical feat they are about to accomplish. “Look I’m running in 5 inches of snow!” or “This hill is enormous, and here I am ready to run to the top!” A little part of it is ridiculous, but I’m usually amused and excited the person is out exercising. If a person had to run 3 miles to a park to a certain location with “that special view” to take a selfie then run the 3 miles home, they just ran 6 miles they might not have run without it. At least that’s the way I like to imagine it.

Earlier this week, I was running on the treadmill and my favorite celebrity crush Carson Daly (yes, gotta mention him again!) did a little piece on #loveyourselfie “Show us how you see your beauty” and he said something to the effect of “search ‘beauty’ on google and you will see pictures of airbrushed supermodels. Search ‘beauty’ on instagram and you’ll see something completely different” (real life IMO. I highly recommend doing this, you will be amazed with the differences). 

These things got me thinking, you know what?! Selfies are sometimes ridiculous and narcissistic, but can also be beautiful. It’s a way for people to feel connected to others with similar interests. A way for normal people to show themselves for who they are and what they are feeling in the moment. Sure, there are filters, and camera angles that can really change a person, but not many people I know are airbrushing their social media pics. And that’s kind of beautiful and refreshing. So… I figured I’d change my attitude to “go on with your bad self-ie!”

And with that, before bed last night, I took another ridiculous selfie… one of me in bed in my Oiselle Podium Pajamas, and sent it to my mom with the message “Love you, goodnight”.

love you, mom!

love you, mom!

Questions for you:

Do you love the selfies or hate them?

What’s the most embarrassing selfie you ever shared?


Two Treadmill Tips

Wells is 4 months old today!


Siblings after bathtime!

Siblings after bathtime!

I’ve spent most of the last week on the treadmill (I know I’m not alone here!). I’m getting more used to it the more I do it, but still strongly prefer running outside.

My main problems with the treadmill are:

  • It’s boring
  • It makes my hips and feet ache
  • It’s in my attic and it’s really hot up there
  • Distractions like household duties and kids make it really easy to stop much earlier than I would outside when it’s just me and the trail.

My main problems with running in snow + bitter cold:

  • Muscles get a little tweaked from being unstable every step I take
  • Wearing a million layers makes me feel heavy and slow
  • Wearing something over my face makes it hard to breathe, but not wearing something isn’t an option when it’s -15 degrees!
  • Doesn’t feel safe running by roads where cars are slipping and sliding

My great things about the treadmill:

  • I have one at home and can essentially do it at any time (as long as I get one kid sleeping and the other occupied and it’s not too close or far from my last meal!)
  • Being hot in the attic means I run in a sports bra and undies = a LOT less laundry!
  • I can watch something on the iPad to make the miles pass a little faster

I’ve tried everything to enjoy the treadmill more… talked to so many runners, read articles and blog posts, but it never really got easier. I just feel unnatural and like I’m sprinting the whole time, even when I’m running much slower than I’d run outside. I think it might have something to do with the fact that I’m moving my legs fast but not getting anywhere. When I’m running, I really connect nature + my body + my mind and when I’m on the ‘mill, it feels artificial… missing that triad. But, I’m thankful for the treadmill and have been determined to enjoy it a little more, especially with this crazy winter we’ve had so far!

Finally, some advice from my brothers and Oiselle teammate Heidi got me on the right track. My brothers basically told me to run as easy as I want to start, and just keep speeding up every so often. Maybe every 1/4 mile, maybe every 1/2 mile, whatever keeps me actively participating. They also mentioned that I should play video games while running. (HA, but seriously they said that! My older brother studied on the treadmill during medical school! I don’t know how he did it, but he did!)

Then, I was reading a blog post from Heidi and she just wrote a little blurb about how she loves watching the news on the treadmill. I’ve tried it before and haven’t liked it so much. But, then I remembered that my celebrity crush since 1998, Carson Daly, started on the Today Show and I knew he could probably pull me through at least a run. I downloaded the Today Show app on the iPad since we don’t have a tv by the treadmill and that first run was so wonderful! Carson didn’t disappoint. He had me laughing out loud and before I knew it my run was over. I like how that particular app has news snippets that are 1-4 minutes long, some serious, some lighthearted, some just plain kooky. I never know what’s coming next and that makes it interesting. I also like to speed up one increment with each news story. I even did a little tempo run on the treadmill last week, but that was the only speedwork that happened.

I’ve had 2 weeks in a row over 50 miles and I’m trying to stay there. I hope to get outside for a few more runs this week. We shall see!

Here are the 4 month pics! (Wells turned 17 weeks old on Friday, he’s exactly 4 months old today)! Took the pics at 9pm so I couldn’t use my regular location, Wells’ bedroom, since he was in bed. So here are some real life, end of day & feeling the bloat, racing kit photos for you:

4 months postpartum!

4 months postpartum!

 Questions for you:

What is your greatest treadmill running tip?!

Who’s your celeb crush?!



3 Months Postpartum Running, Down Weeks, & Multi-tasking

On Friday, Wells turned 13 weeks old. It was also his 3 month birthday!


He’s doing great and his big sister is being a wonderful sibling!


I missed a few of my weekly posts because of travel for the holidays. My parents have been doing matching Christmas PJs for our family for longer than I can remember (way before it was cool…) Here is the picture from this year:

xmas2013This year was Jeff’s 10th Christmas with our family, and that meant his 10th pair of matching Christmas jammies. Here is one from 8 years ago. Loving that v-neck! HA!


Running has been good. I originally planned this week to be my 3rd week in the 50 mile range, but I haven’t hit 50 miles yet. After my last post, I had a really tired, unmotivated weekend. Instead of running 13 miles, I did 7. My body was telling me I needed a down week. While I have taken things conservatively (adding 5 miles/week, with just 1-1.5 miles per week on the long run) my body was still saying I needed a down week. I realized I was building, building, building and never dropping. Oops! So, I took it. No bad feelings, no guilt. Just giving myself a break.

The next week, I decided I would run at least 8, up to 13 miles for the long run, depending on how I felt. I ended up with a strong finish 11.8 miles and was shocked to see I had 47 miles on the week! I was expecting 35-40 miles. I guess I ran a few extra miles during the weekday runs because I had my brothers and Jeff to join me.

Our reflective gear ended up messing up this pic, but it was little bro Jason, husband Jeff, big bro Josh, then me before heading out on a run!

Our reflective gear ended up messing up this pic, but it was little bro Jason, husband Jeff, big bro Josh, then me (posing by one of my mom’s 10 Christmas trees!) before heading out on a run!

This week I ended up with a hilly 14.2 miles to close things out at 48 miles on the week. I think the 2 down weeks served me well. I plan to get to 50 miles and stay there for a few weeks so I can continue feeling good and strong!

Wells is still managing to be a champion sleeper of 8-12 hours straight at night every night since December 8th. I know it won’t last forever, but like I said, I’m enjoying it! Thank you baby boy!

I’m quickly narrowing down a goal race for the spring. Details to come…

Finally, this has been a week of multi-tasking. I’ve been trying to fit in all the running “extras” while still doing all the fun holiday stuff & getting settled back at home stuff. Here are a few ways I fit some strength and stretching into the week:

  • Hip exercises while online bill paying and online library book renewal.
  • Leg/hip strength exercises while hanging out on the playground with the kids.
  • Lacrosse ball arch of foot massage* while nursing Wells.
  • Lacrosse ball arch of foot massage while writing this post!
  • Self calf massage while playing all sorts of imagination games with Currie.

*There is nothing wrong with the arch of my foot right now. However, after I had Currie, I got really bad plantar fasciitis. Then, I spoke with a women this fall who said she used to run until she had kids and got really bad plantar fasciitis. That was enough to keep me proactive with the arch/calf massage after having Wells.

Finally, here are the 13 weeks (3 months) postpartum pics! From my point of view, there’s more definition in my arms, everything else remains the same.


Questions for you!

Any fun/crazy family traditions this time of year?

What’s your favorite way to multi-task with strength/stretching routines? 


10 Weeks! Proud, Cute, and Not-So-Proud Running Moments

Wells is 10 weeks old today!

Hello Mr. Personality! Ok, so he’s not a “little speedster” yet, but I have a feeling I’m going to have my hands full with Currie and this little guy. :)

Since my Turkey Trot, I’ve been a little exhausted. I recovered well from the racing, and even the long run (11.6 miles) with my brothers and husband 2 days later.

Husband Jeff, “little bro” Jason, me, big bro Josh.

But I am really far behind on sleep from all the family time and travel to see family. So my muscles are feeling good but my body is feeling pretty exhausted. My goal this week is get good sleep (and a nap!) at least 4 of the 7 days!

My proudest running moments of the week were:

  • Reaching 40 miles in one week. I’ve been increasing 5 miles per week and adding 1-1.5 miles to the long run distance each week and it has been a great gradual transition so far. I am thinking I’ll hold at 50mpw for awhile when I get there in 2 weeks. I’ve been having the desire to run doubles again which I’m not doing but I’m happy to be craving extra running.
  • Realizing my mental strength is still alive and well. I’ve had a few instances in the past 2 weeks where it would have been easy to throw in the towel mentally which would lead to physical decline. (Easiest one to explain is the pain train during my Turkey Trot, although my positive splitting was nothing to brag about, it could have been much more of a train wreck, but I held it together mentally even when my body was failing and finished strong.) I’m right where I want to be in the mental realm of my running.
  • Flexing my abs in the mirror and seeing the slightest hint of muscle! You know when you occasionally (or frequently) step out of the shower and flex your muscles in the bathroom mirror? Well, I discovered that if I flex ’em really hard, I can see my abs again! They are there! Gonna be awhile till they look like this:

Karknocker 5k, Rochester NY

but I’ll get there!

  • Getting my sprint on! I’ve been doing strides at the track for the past 2 weeks and today, I felt totally normal and fast again. Sure, the strides are the WHOLE WORKOUT right now so it’s nothing to “write home about”. Yes, I’d usually be doing strides as a normal part of my warmup to an entire speed session. But, sprinting hasn’t felt totally normal until today. I was a little concerned on the few snowy days of running to see that my usual toe-running style was replaced by trudging along making almost flat footed prints. Today, I was up high on the balls of my feet with my stride extended so much I literally kicked my butt on a few of the turnovers. I felt like my normal self and that was something to smile about!

My “cutest sighting on a run” this week was:

  • Old lady out for a brisk walk using an old school walkman! You go granny!

My not-so-proud running moments of the week were:

  • Lack of sleep leading to another cold! Must change that this week!
  • Falling off the bandwagon with my strength exercises. While traveling for Thanksgiving, I missed a few days of my “at least one strength exercise per day” routine.

All in all though, I’m chugging right along!

Here are the 10 week postpartum pics!

10 Week photos taken by a hyper 3-year-old again.

Good luck to everyone racing this weekend! Especially Heather and Laura as they run one of my favorite races, California International Marathon!

Questions for you:

Do you flex in the mirror daily, weekly, monthly, yearly?

What’s your cutest sighting on a run this week? Ever?


First Race Post Baby #2, Columbus Turkey Trot

I’m beat! Columbus Turkey Trot, 2013. Although I debated racing in buns for this race, it was far too chilly and I was happy I chose the apparel you see above!

I ran my first race since baby #2 on Thursday. Wells was 2 months + 1 day old. I was 68th place overall, 4th female in 31:14, or 6:15/mile pace. Last year I was 17th place overall, first female in 28:19, or 5:40/mile pace.

As a side note, I ran my first postpartum race after Currie (a 5k in 18:09) when she was 5 months old. I almost puked and felt equally awesome and horrible. See pic below!

10 Ugly Men, first race post-Currie, July 2010.

Back to the present: last week’s first postpartum race was a 5 mile Turkey Trot in Columbus, Ohio which is about an hour from my in-law’s house. I was probably more nervous/excited in the days leading up to the race than anyone else toeing the line at a Turkey Trot! Most people seem to run these races for fun… I was trying to get a good starting point for real workouts. I was unsure how I would feel, and was anxious to test my fitness.

On the drive to the race, the sky was gorgeous, and the temperature was a chilly 20 degrees or so, with winds less than 10mph.

I bundled up – so many layers – and still felt a bit cold standing around pre-race. Long sleeve, singlet, vest, and 2 light jackets with one warmer jacket on top, fleece lined tights and warmup pants on bottom, heavy mittens and a headband to round things out.

So many layers, I felt like a marshmallow! This “selfie” perspective doesn’t show the true marshmallow-ness of my look.

Before long though, it was time to head to the start line! I did 4 strides and positioned myself in the second row. Then I looked behind me and saw my friend Casey from Rochester, NY! I also got to quickly meet and hug Molly who I’ve known online for awhile now. Both of these ladies pumped me up more than they realize! I ended up lining up right by Casey maybe 6 rows back (she should have started in row 2 because she’s speedy) but we both stayed back.

The gun went off and we went out in what felt pretty comfortable. The first mile drops 100ft and I was shocked to see we ran 5:36-7 that first mile! Ah! (The course goes out, does a loop through Ohio State’s campus, then comes back up the last mile to end where it started so the last mile is back up 100ft, on a long gradual uphill.) I got that sort of hollow feeling in my arms that mile, like I get when I’m either freezing and/or run a lot faster than I’m used to (Does anyone else get that hollow feeling?) and knew that would be my fastest mile! During this mile the girl who ended up in first place passed me and Casey.

Mile 2 feels downhill but I guess you go up and down so it ends up having no elevation gain or loss. I was 11:38 or about a 6:01 mile. I was still feeling pretty good. I let Casey go this mile. I knew she was in better shape and she didn’t need to hang back with me. This left me in 3rd place female.

The third mile is another 20ft drop and I was 17:50 or 6:12 mile. At that point I started thinking a 5k sounded much better than a 5 mile…

I don’t know the elevation for the 4th mile, but I was at 24:25 or a 6:35ish mile. I was passed by the girl who ended up 3rd female at the end of this mile.

My final time was 31:14, making my last mile 6:47ish. So obviously my body doesn’t know pacing, and it was a long death march to the finish. Like I said in my last post, I didn’t pass anyone at this race. Instead, I got passed by all sorts of people the entire race. Makes sense when I saw how much I positive split the race!

Almost to the finish!

During the last mile, my arms and legs had a dead feeling and I was happy to know I was giving a great hard race effort. Could I have run a little faster? Probably… Am I 100% happy with my time? Well, I’m probably happier with this race than I’ve ever been with a race performance (aside from my 5k PR race). My goal was 33:00 and I thought on a great day I could run 32:xx. So, yes, I was pretty pumped!

Since the race I haven’t been obsessing about what I could have done differently for a faster time like I usually do. I’m almost never satisfied with a race (always hungry for more attitude which I’m proud of!) but I’m satisfied with this one.

Post race, I got to see my friend Kathy (who ran at OSU with me) and my friend Casey again for a very brief moment. Of course I had to take a pic!

Kathy, me, Casey

Then I went to Peets Coffee to “refuel” with an almond milk mocha as big as my head. Turns out if you tell a barista you want a mocha and don’t mention size they choose the largest size for you.

Big ol’ almond milk mocha

As far as awards go, they were better than last year’s trophy. For 4th place female, I got a trophy, a medal, a “Chase” embroidered fleece, duffel bag and water bottle.

Awards. Can you tell who sponsored this race?

I recovered from this race much better than expected. I was just a tiny bit sore for the first few minutes of my run the next day and felt completely better the next day for my long run. Now… it’s time to decide what race will be next!

Hope you are having a great week and thanks for all the support!